DAVE DRAGGOO (second from right), director of Looking Glass Community Outreach (LGCO), was presented with a $500 grant for the LGCO Book Partner program by the Shiawassee Youth Advisory Council on May 20, 2018.
Looking Glass Community Outreach (LGCO) is a faith-based nonprofit serving families with a variety of difficult issues in southern Shiawassee County (Laingsburg/Shaftsburg/Perry/MorriceBancroft). The group is happy to report that they just successfully finished their 16th year of operating its Book Partner mentor/tutor program for 2nd-graders in the Perry school system.
The Book Partner program is aimed at 2nd-graders who are below the target reading level at the beginning of the school year. LGCO seeks grants each year to support this program, which provides a stipend for two coordinators and the supplies and snacks for the students. Fifteen to 18 volunteer mentors/tutors are recruited each year, and one volunteer meets with one student for an hour after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays during most of the school year.
This last school year the group hosted ten 2nd-graders in the Book Partner program. With remedial programs like this, the goal is that a student might catch up to current grade level by the end of 3rd grade. Also, the average 2nd-grader improves 10 reading levels in an instructional year. This year all ten 2nd-graders in the program improved at least 10 levels, and eight of the 10 students exceeded that mark. Three of them even achieved a 3rd grade reading level, a full school year ahead of that expectation. This means that 10 students who were lagging behind in one of the most basic tools of education, will find it easier to be successful in their subsequent schooling experiences. The LGCO’s evaluations report that these students show improved levels of self-confidence and happier home lives, among other significant benefits.
That is the good news. As of right now, the future of this program is in doubt. The budget for this program is a little over $2,500 for the school year. For the last two years, LGCO has been able to secure local grants to cover these costs. Some of these generous donors are the Russell & Annabelle Woodard Family Fund, the Kellogg Foundation Youth Advisory Council Fund (both of these are part of the Shiawassee Community Foundation), the Masonic Lodge in Perry and the Greater Perry Lions Club.
The LGCO lost one of its bigger sustainers for this next school year and to date they only have $1,000 pledged for the next Book Partner program, leaving them $1,500 short of their goal. If any groups or individuals are interested in helping to keep this program alive, please contact the LGCO office at (517) 651-6846. More information about the organization can be found by visiting www.lookingglassoutreach.org.