Nearly 100 tots along with their parents crowded the most recent “Story Time” session to hear Read2Succeed’s founder, former State Rep. Juan C. Zapata, take his turn at reading aloud. “Reading is the start of all learning,” commented Zapata before beginning reading to wide-eyed moppets who were given free book bags filled with school supplies and took part in a raffle for free tickets to a Miami Marlins baseball game.
Zapata was instrumental in gathering together a group of Kendall residents who held the first Story Time event in 2005, leading to widespread literacy programming and activities by the parent Read2Succeed organization today.
Assisted by the popular “Clifford, The Big Red Dog,” Zapata’s appearance on Sept. 14 marked the fourth year of Read2Succeed activities to assist and encourage reading and literacy in West Kendall.
A non-profit organization, Read2Succeed has been serving thousands of at-risk youth and families since 2007, focused on educating children and empowering parents through after-school tutoring, FCAT preparation, adult English classes, workshops and social services.
Nita Bhat, an Arvida Middle School student, took the lead in 2005 by holding a “Harry Potter Literary Event,” reading aloud before enthralled youngsters from the series of adventure tales that are now a literary legend.
Since that popular beginning, storybook sessions continue at 7 p.m. every second Friday at Barnes and Noble for “It’s Story Time!” with children advised to wear their pajamas. Milk and cookies are served after each reading.
Meanwhile, Read2Succeed has grown to provide both family literacy and afterschool tutoring that have broadened the organization’s activities in West Kendall. These include such enrichment programs as “I 2 Can Succeed,” a unique afterschool program designed to help students in grades K-5 enhance their academic performance. “Fun N Learn” summer camps also are held yearly, taught by certified teachers and tutors.
A key to its continued success: parents are encouraged to become involved actively in their children’s academics and are given opportunities to participate in a series of educational activities with them.
Read2Succeed administrative offices are located at 13418 SW 128 St. For details on future “Story Times” or Real2Succeed programs, call 305-969-7440 or visit online at www.r2succeed.org