A Project for Students and Citizens

Living Democracy in Hobson City: Week Five

In Hobson City on July 18, 2013 at 4:11 pm

CAM00786Collaboration Helps Sable Learning Center Children

By Audrey Ross

The Sable Learning Center in Hobson City is a prime example of how much needed programs can persevere, through the good times and the not so good times, for the sake of the community. Opened decades ago by Maudine Holloway, the Sable Learning Center has always been a safe place for the children of Hobson City to go after school and during the summertime. Teachers at the center would give them extra attention outside of school and would often take the children on educational field trips. But budget issues have put more stress on this previously thriving program.

Although parents can give donations for the services provided, the center is free for children of all ages. Many of the Sable Center’s youth come from low-income homes. In the summertime, the children are fed breakfast, lunch and snacks throughout the day. They also have access to an in-house library of books and other learning materials. In the past, they have relied on the city and private donations to keep things up and running. In recent years, however, the Sable Learning Center has struggled to come up with adequate funding to continue its programing.

Low on staff and materials, Holloway has been searching for ways to keep the children engaged during their eight-hour days at the center. Various local church groups come and volunteer with the children on a regular basis, which gives the kids an opportunity to do new and exciting things. This summer, the Sable Learning Center has paired up with the Hobson City Public Library to maximize the potential of both.

The Hobson City Public Library offers an extensive summer reading program full of all types of daily activities. Although the kids at the Sable Learning CenterCAM00746 can’t come to the library every day, the library is now coming to them. Every child who enrolls in the summer reading program is given a simple reading test and assigned a workbook according to their grade level. These workbooks are designed to help bridge the gap between grade levels during the summer. Children can complete activities in the workbooks to earn a Hobson City Library t-shirt and other prizes such as candy, fake mustaches and other fun toys.

With the help of Hobson City librarian Donna Ross, all 40 plus children in the Sable Learning Center were given a reading test and score in June. They were then given their own workbooks and presented all the prizes they could win if they worked hard to complete their workbook activities.

On the day the workbooks first arrived, the children were grouped according to grade levels and allowed to help each other. They were originally given 15 minutes to work. But when the timer sounded, they begged to keep working. There was so much excitement at having something to work toward and accomplish, and they did so diligently for the following days.

CAM00785After a few weeks, librarian Ross returned to see how many children had completed 10 activities. Each child who had done so received a Hobson City Public Library t-shirt and was encouraged to continue completing activities to earn more prizes. Those who hadn’t yet completed 10 activities had even more incentive to keep going. The pre-k children were initially left without workbooks as there were no preschool workbooks with the summer reading program, but with more help from the library all the preschoolers at the center were also able to get their own workbooks and work towards prizes.

Although the workbooks were a great first step, there was still an issue with the lack of staff at the Sable Learning Center. This problem has been greatly alleviated by the addition of a buddy system at the center that pairs each younger child with an older child to help them with reading, writing and other activities. The younger children benefit, and the older ones can experience what it’s like to be a leader and a mentor to another child. The effects of this system on both parties are tremendous, not to mention the help it provides for the teachers and staff.

The Sable Learning Center has been in Hobson City for many years. Throughout the years, many things have changed but one thing has stayed the same: Holloway’s dedication to providing Hobson City’s children a place to learn. With the help of the community, the Sable Center will continue to provide this for years to come. There is more progress to be made, but the center has made great strides this summer.

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