Archive for January 2011

The Lists are In   1 comment

The lists are in.  I asked the three local elementary schools in Consuelo to provide me with lists of twenty-four students in third or fourth grade who are not reading.  Third grade has proven to be the biggest problem for local school officials because national education regulations do not allow teachers to hold kids back until third grade.  What happens is kids who have not mastered literacy skills like identification of letters, are passed until they get to third grade.  The kids that are on-track are reading and those that are behind are not.  Class sizes reach fifty students.  All students only attend school half-day, morning or afternoon for three-and-a-half hours.  Teachers have very little opportunity to give these struggling students the extra attention they need to reach their reading potential.

CCI has committed to help.  To start, twenty-four students from each school will participate in literacy training at the CCI community center.  We are in the process of meeting with parents to explain why their child has been selected.  Parents’ most common question is, “How much do I have to pay?”  When I tell them the only thing CCI asks is that their child participates one time in a community service project, tears, smiles, and expressions of thanks rise.

I went to the schools to evaluate each child selected.  The group includes several thirteen year olds who have failed third grade five times, a sixteen year old fourth grader, and many who said, “No sé”, when I asked them if they could write their name.

One girl Sara, who is in third grade for the fifth time, was absent.  The school psychologist told me that Sara’s teacher asked if she could make a change.  She wanted to trade Sara for another student because she thinks Sara can’t learn and it would be better to give her spot to another student.  I let them know that Sara is exactly the student CCI wants to help.  Help us connect Sara to her potential.

This month, CCI has not received any donations.  The $200 rent is due tomorrow, and I’m struggling to buy basic necessities.  Any support you could give this month to help us launch the literacy courses would be greatly appreciated.  CCI and Sara send sincere thanks in advance. 

Posted January 23, 2011 by anglynnbennett in Uncategorized

MLK, Gabe Zimmerman, & Us   2 comments

On this day, remembering Martin Luther King, Jr., I also remember Gabe Zimmerman.  My dear friend was lost to irrational violence while participating in an event to connect the community.  I worked with Gabe at Arizona’s Children Association in Tucson and we were fast friends.  My memories keep of Gabe keep making me smile; his laughter, his goofiness, and his kindness.  Gabe always showed sincere care and unwavering ethics when dealing with the challenging youth of the center.  He recently made a donation to CCI and wrote me to say, “Now you just need 1,000 more people like me!”; today, sadly, I think just one would be enough.  In his political views, his work, and in his personal life, he was forever positive, active, and hopeful.  As Barack Obama said at the Tucson Memorial Service, because of this tragedy, “we recognize our own mortality, and are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame – but rather, how well we have loved, and what small part we have played in bettering the lives of others.”  Gabe knew this truth before suffering this tragedy, and responded in service to its call.  Martin Luther King, Jr. also knew this truth and said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”  We can honor their memories by following their example of service.  May God comfort the family and friends of those who have past, and may we all commit to better the lives of others and to connect humanity to its potential.

Posted January 17, 2011 by anglynnbennett in Uncategorized