Little Lights Urban Ministries

2009 Winter Newsletter

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Little Lights Update Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God. Volume 9, Issue 1 www.littlelights.org Little LIghts Receives Keller award The 2009 Arnold Keller, Jr. Award, given annually by the Capitol Hill Community Foundation, will go this year to Little Lights. The $10,000 award will be used for outreach purposes at our new 1212 apartment units at Potomac Gardens. We are enormously grateful to the foundation, and encouraged by this vote of confidence. winter 2008 highlights On December 13, our Executive Director Steve Park was presented with an award in recognition of the work he has done through Little Lights by Consul General Tae Myon Kwon from the Korean Embassy. The award was given on behalf of the Korean Ministry of Foreign and Trade Affairs. Ronada Hewitt (far left) was awarded the Youth Leadership Award in recognition of her talent and growth in a variety of areas. Ronada has excelled academically, and has also stood out as a mentor to younger students. She will be going to college next year to pursue a degree in creative writing. Linda Rice prepared a Thanksgiving feast for a group from Grace DC that bid on the meal at our banquet fundraiser this fall. According to Brandi Yee, "Ms Linda, Associate Director at Little Lights and 'chef extraordinaire', provided a feast. It was incredible - many guests said that this was the best Thanksgiving dinner they'd ever had! Two of our students, Queshawn W. & James G., won an essay contest sponsored by the Department of Defense. The children, who wrote on Martin Luther king, Jr., were given their certificates and $100 savings bonds at the Pentagon! In December, D.C. Children & Youth Investment Trust Corporation awarded Little Lights $20,000 for Work Force Development. This money is going towards our Teen Internship program, which now employs 12 teenagers from the area (spring 2008 teens are pictured at left). Teens help with tutoring, leading activities, and more in our younger and older kids programs. Winter 2009 academic developments Sara Alsup, Academic Director Little Lights is thrilled to update you on the progress we have been making in our academic programs. While our students are faced with many considerable challenges, we are enormously proud of what they have accomplished so far, and are confident that they will continue to improve, thanks in large part to the steps we have taken to better our academic programs. Sara Alsup works on homework with Aaron Calder After gathering data on our students at the beginning of the year we found that of the 38 children tested, all but 1 were behind grade level in reading and math. We created learning plans to target our students' missing skills and bring them up to grade level. Now we're in the middle of gathering mid-year data on our students to gauge the progress we've made and determine which skills need more work. Among the students enrolled in Reading Heroes Older, there has been growth in reading comprehension and word recognition ability. Of the nine students tested so far, 3 have grown half a grade level in comprehension, 3 have grown a full grade level, and 2 have grown a grade level and a half. By the end of the year, many of our older students are on track to be reading at their grade level. While reading comprehension is the biggest struggle for our older students, our younger ones struggle with basic literacy skills, such as knowing what sound letters make. We have conducted a thorough survey to determine our students needs. From this data we are modifying their learning plans to include an aggressive approach to basic literacy and language. In math, all students are working on mastering their multiplication tables. We are thrilled to say that individual skill assessments have shown that students are mastering skills that they lacked at the beginning of the year. Our final round of assessments will occur in May. What we have seen so far leads us to expect that we will continue to see students improve in reading and math, which will mean continued progress toward our goal for them to perform at their grade level.

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