Big Brothers Big Sisters Celebrate Read Across America Month in Hartford

A Hartford classroom hosted a read aloud alongside senior mentors from Big Brothers Big Sisters.

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Schools across the country are celebrating Read Across America Month.

The National Education Association created this program, which also coincides with Dr. Seuss' birthday.

On Friday, Paraiso Infantil in Hartford welcomed volunteers from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Connecticut who, along with students and staff, were dressed in character as they read Dr. Seuss' "Ten Apples Up on Top."

As part of Big Brothers Big Sisters' Foster Grandparent Program, the read aloud brought together children and seniors from the community.

"So, on a daily basis, anywhere from five hours a week to five hours a day, they come in, they'll volunteer," said Jeannette Mendez, Director of BBBS' Foster Grandparent Program.

Mendez says the program is made up of senior mentors who support preschoolers through grade five around the state. She says there are nearly 35 volunteers in the Greater Hartford area and 20 in eastern Connecticut.

"We really do see the benefit the kids. You know, they're 3 to 5, they're hanging onto their parent for dear life, but here comes grandma, who is consoling them, soothing, giving them hugs and it makes it all better," said Mendez.

Annemarie Holly, BBBS' grants and program enhancements manager, says Friday's read aloud was made possible through the Stocker Foundation, which supports and strengthens classroom curriculums through STEAM and literacy programs.

"With their generous funding, we were able to do this read aloud, to buy books for the classroom teachers, to buy goodie bags for the students to bring home with their own copy of the book. Bookmarks, pencils, erasers, all the good stuff," said Holly.

Pariso Infantil is located at the Institute for the Hispanic Family, which is operated by Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Hartford.”

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