Friday, August 5, 2016 was a day to commemorate for Aldersgate, UNC Charlotte, the Johnston YMCA and Windsor Park Elementary – students and educators alike.
A luncheon was held in the Aldersgate Fellowship Hall to celebrate the first of what will be many successful summer reading camps at Aldersgate and Windsor Park Elementary.
For four weeks, 36 energetic and curious second- and third-graders were welcomed by Aldersgate and specifically 18 elder residents – to teach, and be taught, mutually rewarding lessons.
The students beamed as they entered the room and spied their reading partners. Teachers, YMCA staff and representatives of Aldersgate, UNC Charlotte, and the Reemprise Fund within the Foundation For The Carolinas – the funding source that helped make it possible – applauded the shining stars of the pilot program. The enthusiasm was palpable; the young and the young at heart were indeed the “heart” of the program.
"The summer reading program is designed to foster a love of books while also offering an intensive, research-based reading intervention,” said Ellen McIntyre, Dean of the College of Education at UNC Charlotte. “The reading component is just one part of a summer camp experience filled with sports, games, swimming and a healthy living curriculum. Together, Aldersgate, UNC Charlotte's College of Health and Human Services and the YMCA are going to make a significant difference in the lives of the children we reach."
The YMCA programming, which took place on-site at Aldersgate, supported the literacy efforts of the camp, and included a healthy lunch, physical activity, indoor and outdoor games and nutrition education. However, the activity that made a real splash was swimming and water safety, which took place in the Aldersgate indoor pool.
Of course, it was a win/win for Aldersgate.
“What’s good for Aldersgate is good for the eastside, and vice versa,” said Tim Rogers, Director of Mission Advancement at Aldersgate. “Part of committing to the eastside was working with our friends and neighbors to improve its aesthetics and the physical and economic health of its residents.”
The great work will continue. This reading camp is just the beginning of initiatives to support neighbors – particularly children and elders – and break generational cycles of poverty. Fall of this year, “Chapter Two” is the opening of the Center for Health, Education and Opportunity, the first venture of the overall master plan. The Center, housed in the existing 6,000-square-foot Shamrock Senior Center on the Aldersgate campus, will offer innovative, life-enriching programming led by the UNC Charlotte Colleges of Education and Health and Human Services.
Stay tuned. We look forward to sharing more success stories in the very near future. So be sure and bookmark aldersgateccrc.com.