Lana Learn after school programs are improving literacy among students while giving them opportunities to earn community service hours.
The Lana learn team is focused on improving literacy among students in after school programs this fall. The 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) program offers a comprehensive approach to learning by extending education beyond traditional classroom hours. We hold after school activities at our partner school, Cardozo High School in Washington, DC. It’s important for our academic coaches to provide activities that not only offer literacy growth but feel worthwhile and engaging to students even after a full day of school. We deliver unique content that is both enriching and beneficial to program participants. To fit in with the season of giving thanks, our coaches gave students the opportunity to give back to their community while building literacy skills.
This month’s CCLC programming allowed students to earn community service hours while completing their literacy task. Lana Learn partnered up with two organizations in need of written material: Cards for Hospitalized Kids and Love for Our Elders. Cards for Hospitalized Kids is a Chicago-based organization that gathers encouraging and colorful greeting cards for hospitalized children. Similarly, Love for Our Elders is a nonprofit organization that collects personalized letters for elders. This gives young people the opportunity to keep them company even from a distance. We tasked our students with writing cards and letters that followed each organization’s guidelines. This objective required students to use effective grammar, thoughtful communication, and strong writing personalized to their recipients.
The resulting cards and letters from students were not only academically impressive, but uplifting, creative, and heartwarming. Most attendees went above and beyond the written requirements of the assignment. They designed their cards with stickers, used colorful text that popped off the page, and illustrated unique and positive imagery. Upon completing their cards and letters, we observed several students celebrating one another’s work. Without being prompted, many students shared their messages with each other and offered praise to one another.
Offering community service opportunities was a successful way to maintain students’ interests in programming while promoting literacy and social-emotional learning. When given the freedom to be creative, our students rose to the challenge of incorporating positivity, care, and consideration in their writing. They went one step further by taking the initiative to celebrate one another. We are proud to be working with such hardworking, capable, and kind members of our community.