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September 2, 2013

Help Support Strong Start to Reading




When I was 12 I read The Great Gatsby for the first time. I didn't completely understand it, but it didn't occur to me that perhaps it was a little beyond my years either. It also didn't really occur to me then that other kids might not enjoy reading as much as I did, that they might not enjoy reading at all, or that they might- in fact- have trouble reading.


Until I met Chase.


I was volun-told to tutor Chase. He had been moved from a French immersion program to English, and it wasn't going very well. Although a wiz in french he had trouble reading and writing in English, and when I started meeting with him it was obvious he felt stupid. It wasn't just affecting his school work either, it was taking a toll on how he felt about himself, and he was starting to lash out at others and 'act up' in class. To make matters worse, he was surrounded by kids who didn't have the same trouble, who made it seem like it was all supposed to be easy.


Chase was in the back in my mind when I met with Machelle Denison, Executive Director of Strong Start. The organization will once again receive a portion of proceeds from the CHYM Mighty Machines Showcase this year.


Strong Start began in 2001 as a community project to ensure young children could read. As an educator, the program's Co-Founder Lynda Sylvester recognized the profound difference literacy could make in the lives of children.


Now, over a decade later, Strong Start is in virtually all schools throughout Waterloo Region, and has been introduced in nearly 50 schools beyond. In the meantime this program had become a full-fledged non-profit organization that provides a continuum of learning for children from infancy through their early school years.


Strong Start has three main programs:

Baby Connections for babies 6-12 months old- can be accessed through local community organizations, and provides parents with training and take-home resources to encourage early literacy.

Get Ready for School for children 3-4 focuses on school readiness: reading, vocabulary, school routines, group participation. The program is rooted in extensive research and has produced an incredible boost to children as they enter junior kindergarten.

Letters, Sounds, and Words for children ages 5-7 assists children who could use a boost, giving them a chance to learn in a one-on-one setting. Volunteers use fun activities to engage children and promote the idea that learning can be fun.


Behind the scenes are nearly 2000 volunteers logging over 30 000 hours, before and after comprehensive assessments, data entry,  bins of materials and a fiery executive director with boundless energy who pushes the organization into greater efficiency and more success than her predecessor may have ever dreamed possible for Strong Start.


As I learn more about Strong Start I cannot help but want to support it, but I also can't help but wonder what kind of difference it might have made for Chase.

You can help us support Strong Start!

Get your tickets for the CHYM Mighty Machines Showcase

Saturday, September 7, 2013
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
425 Bingemans Centre Drive
Kitchener, Ontario

Mighty Machines Showcase

Posted by:
Jane Barkley at 11:50 AM
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Name: Jane Barkley
Posts: 23
Last Post: June 27, 2016


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