So often we hear the expression, “Time, Talent and Treasure.” It was the combination of all three that created the “Enhancing Family Literacy” program at Cabrini Immigrant Services (CIS), Dobbs Ferry, NY.
What started as a dream, turned into a reality when Dr. Marie Amoruso, Dr. Paulette Sansone, Deborah Mosley, a Certified Storyteller and I, came together to plan a program for parents, grandparents and caregivers. The gift of time was spent planning ways in which we could help the families of CIS enhance their English language as well as their reading skills.
Quickly, the gift of talent came through as Dr. Amoruso presented us with ideas and ways of improving literacy. Dr. Sansone used her talent as a grant writer to help us get funds so we could offer the program. “Miss Deb” as she is known to our Cabrini Kids, used her talent of storytelling.
The gift of treasure is what allowed us to begin the program. CIS was blessed to receive a grant from Cabrini Mission Foundation, NYC. We are able to offer a 10 month literacy program. We started the program on March 23rd. What a wonderful experience to have our moms and caregivers come together to listen and watch as they heard the story, Grandma Needs A Nap written by Dr. Amoruso. Yet another gift of treasure was the donation by Dr. Amoruso of her book for every participant. Everyone h
ad smiles on his and her face as each received a copy of the book. Of course, being teachers, everyone went home with homework. The participants were asked to practice telling the story with their children. When we return next month, we will hear about how successful they were in their storytelling.
We also received another gift of talent, when Ellen Tessitore, a retired art-teacher, offered to work with the young
children who accompanied their parent or caregiver to the program. In the story, we read about how Grandma enjoys her time with her grandchildren as they use their imagination as they climb upon Mt. Sofa or made some gelatin molds. Ellen had the children make playdough and then they made different shapes using cookie cutters. At the end, everyone received a bag with some playdough, cookie cutters and a recipe explaining how to make the playdough. What a great way to enhance not only literacy but also family time together. As the moms/caregivers read the story to the children, the children can make some playdough and enjoy creating different designs or use some of the other ideas in the book.
We look forward to our next session when we will be reading Stone Soup by John J. Muth.