JULY 2021

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Summer program emphasizes reading skills

   The recent start of Good News Outreach’s summer program has been a fun and exciting learning opportunity for the children of  Maryland Oaks Crossing community.

Julie Baisden has taken on the role of assisting the children in their academic reading goals for their summer as a reading coach.

   “I was asked to create a curriculum that would target some of the foundational skills that the students in the community might have missed because of the past school year because of COVID,” Baisden said. “My goal for the summer was to find resources that would help children engage in the academic piece and encourage them to connect with literature on a really fun level.”

   The summer program is continuously making the effort to educate the students by allowing them to experience activities and events that differ from the traditional classroom and learning setting.

   “St. Francis Wildlife is going to do a live Zoom presentation with the kids that will allow them to learn about owls and different species and we’re going to use that as a springboard to work on vocabulary,” Baisden said. “We’re also going to do some cooking and art activities. We’ve partnered with Generations Church, and they are going to participate in a sports camp that will work on team building, social skills, and physical activities. We have some sensory bins that are going to be donated from GentleHands and a lot of other activities.

   Daryl Jaquette is the director of housing for Good News Outreach and this summer he’s also assisting in running the summer program.

   “Part of what we’re doing is math, science, and reading and every Friday the kids are taking a test to see how they’re progressing. We’re trying to get baselines for the children so that we can track their progress when they return to school,” Jaquette said. “We’re doing a lot of fun stuff like puzzles, games, and Zoom tours as well as outdoor activities.”

   There are currently many learning events and activities planned for the children throughout this summer.

   A wildlife refuge will be coming out and bring animals like hawks for the kids to see and learn about,Jaquette said. “Talquin Electric will be coming out soon. They have an outreach program where they put on a workshop about electricity, and they do some cool experiments that the kids can see. We’ll also be having a petting zoo come out and there is currently a field trip lined up with the Tallahassee Museum as well.”

   Though the summer program is focused on education, there is a constant effort to make sure that the children are enjoying themselves while learning.

   “We’re trying to find that fine line between learning and still making sure that they’re having fun,” Jaquette said.

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Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Tallahassee stuffed the truck again with its annual food drive. Parishioners filled a 16-foot U-Haul truck with nonperishables, personal hygiene items, some clothes and even two well-washed doggie beds. The load was delivered Monday, July 12 and challenged Good News Outreach interns to find every nook and cranny in the office to store it all.

I want to thank (pastor) Father Mike and everybody at Good Shepherd for their generosity, and hard work! The Stuff the Truck crew arrived at Good News Outreach this morning and there was an amazing number of boxes and bags. We got all of it into the building, now we will start sorting!”, GNO Director of Operations Rebecca Howard said in an email to the drive’s organizers.