The Youth Job Center and the Evanston Public Library next week will launch ABC Boosters, a program designed to improve literacy skills of low income children this summer.

In the program, the library will work with District 65’s five-week summer outreach program, Jump Start.

Other participants are the Fleetwood Jourdain Community Center’s Kindergarten Camp, and the Robert Crown Community Center’s summer camps. The library staff will design literacy activities targeting children of lower-income families between the ages of 2½ and 5.

Pre-school age children living in District 65 who have been identified as being at risk for low literacy levels may participate in the program. The goal of the literacy activities is to improve literacy levels through letter recognition and word association games and story telling.  

Rick Kinnebrew, children’s outreach librarian, says, “The big rap against Evanston is that we talk about our problems more than we act on them. On this project, we’ve got an ‘A team’ of community players working from a really strong plan.”

The job center will hire and pay 12 youth workers ages 14-17 to help teach the curriculum. To be selected for the program, teens are asked to write an essay and interview with one of the YJC’s staff members. In addition, the YJC is looking for teens who have experience working with groups of younger children.

Staff from the EPL and YJC will train the youth workers for the ABC Booster program teaching basic job skills and behavior. For many of the teens, taking part in the program will be their first job.

The ABC Boosters Program is funded by a grant from the Evanston Community Foundation.

For more information about the program, call the job center at 847-864-5627.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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