The Evanston Cradle to Career initiative says its partner organizations more than doubled participation in free summer literacy programs and reached more than 5,000 youngsters this summer.

The effort is intended to increase literacy and reduce summer learning loss.

The programs included ABC Boosters, a partnership among the Evanston Public Library, the Youth Job Center, the Evanston Community Foundation and school Districts 65 and 202. 

The program engages teachers and librarians to train high school students to tutor incoming kindergarten students. It partnership provides employment opportunities for high school students while increasing the number of children prepared for kindergarten success this fall.

District 65 also partnered with the YMCA to expand Y Readers and with Family Focus to bring new theatre and STEM programs to the community.

Districts 65 and 202 committed to a shared summer learning experience, providing the graphic novel MARCH to all incoming freshmen and their teachers, while D202 created a new summer program to ensure students are ready for the challenge of high school.

Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary partnered with Evanston Own It (a coalition of ministers from the 5 th Ward) to create Evanston’s own Freedom School at Friendship Baptist Church. Supported with training and culturally relevant books through the national Children’s Defense Fund, the Freedom School built excitement about reading, civic responsibility, and cultural pride and support.

Y.O.U. partnered with the Dajae Coleman Foundation to explore the works of author Rita Williams-Garcia through Y.O.U.’s reading and writing workshops and to share an inspiring visit from the author.

In addition to literacy-specific programming, traditional summer camps in Evanston,  including ones run by the Evanston and Ridgeville Park Districts, the YMCA, and Family Focus, incorporated reading time into their daily schedules.

An Everybody Reads book drive, along with the installation of Little Free Libraries in local parks across the city, enhanced and expanded access to diverse, high quality reading materials for children and youth throughout Evanston.

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  1. So What

    Cradle to Career is spending a lot of time and taxpayer money with little or no results and appears to be destin to failure, like most Cradle to Career organizations that have tried over the years.

    As Barney Fife says, it's about time to "nip it in the bud".

    1. EC2C’s Focus on Literacy

      Because of the Expanded Summer Literacy Programs initiated through Evanston Cradle to Career:

      • 1,255 Evanston children received expanded reading programs in various centers this summer, an increase of 714 children over the previous summer.
      • 4,745 children who attended camps had reading time added to their daily activites
      • 1,000 library-recommended books were donated for distribution at select summer programs.  
      • Little Free Libraries were created in six Evanston parks, bringing more books into the neighborhoods.  
      • And the closing celebration of the Freedom School held in the Fifth Ward, was a night of pride and confidence exhibted by the students who had attended, and whose families may have an entirely different school experience this year because of what transpired for the students and their families. 

      All that successful focus on literacy was possible because of the collaboration of many Evanston organizations and institutions using their collective impact to address a need.  Not a bad start for EC2C's first summer initiatives!

      1. ROI
        Does anyone have any figures on the amount of taxpayer funds that ended up being used as part of EC2C?

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