Reading Builds Bright Futures
On Tuesday, August 4, Ellie Hock felt tears of pride welling up in her eyes as she looked around her. All around the Emerson Resource Room, SouthSide children and their families were reading to one another, just like she had envisioned months before. “I was so proud to see so many families reading together in one room,” she said. “To see this program go from an idea to a reality was really touching.”
Ellie and fellow development specialist, Tina Closson, run SouthSide’s Bright Future’s program, a program funded by the St. Louis Mental Health Board, that enables SouthSide to provide in-house support services for children with suspected cognitive and social emotional delays. The program also seeks to provide parents with the skills they need to recognize their child’s educational strengths and maximize his or her potential. Early in the year, Ellie and Tina developed the idea for the Bright Future’s Book Club. Their vision was to create scheduled opportunities for parents to read to their children and learn how to cultivate their child’s enthusiasm and imagination.The end goal would be the development of their child’s social, cognitive and language skills. It took months to work through the details, but through their hard work and diligence, everything eventually came together. Now that the program has launched, they’re looking forward to building on its initial success.
“Having a program that can help parents impart empathy and critical thinking skills by asking the right questions, that might be hard for us to measure, but it’s going to be very worthwhile.” Ellie said. “I’m really excited."