Guadalupe Saldana, age 9, is one of many children of PSHH’s Carpinteria Camper Park who benefited from the Youth Education Enhancement Program (YEEP) this past year thanks to the support of the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara. She is the youngest of three children and her parents are mono-lingual Spanish speakers. When the YEEP educator met with Guadalupe’s parents and teacher at the beginning of the school year, her teacher told them that Guadalupe would be held back in third grade unless her grades drastically improved.
On her first report card, Guadalupe tested below or far below basic in almost all language arts and math grading categories. She was having trouble reading and spelling and was unable to pass the second grade subtraction and addition facts test. In response to these academic struggles, the YEEP educator, Brittany Hadidian, worked with Guadalupe on her homework daily and prepared additional math and spelling activities for her so she could practice and improve her skills. Her mother administered YEEP’s timed math tests to Guadalupe at home a few times per week for extra practice. Brittany also arranged for Guadalupe to work with an Americorps volunteer, who is specifically trained in literacy. Guadalupe read aloud with the volunteer daily.
Even before parent-teacher conferences six months later, Guadalupe’s teacher called the YEEP educator to tell her that Guadalupe’s grades were better and that she was scoring higher on her weekly spelling tests. Her reading fluency had improved by 20 words per minute and she had passed the subtraction and addition tests and had moved onto multiplication.
By the end of the year, Guadalupe’s report card reflected a basic to proficient understanding in all language arts and math grading categories. In addition to improved grades, Guadalupe’s teacher also noted that she had more confidence and understanding of English as well as increased class participation. Guadalupe will begin fourth grade next year on time. She is attending summer school and continues to attend the YEEP program in order to work on her academic progress.
In addition to the 40 K-12 youth served at the Carpinteria Camper Park, YEEP also serves 300 K-12 youth at one other PSHH site on the South Coast and three in North County. Bilingual educators work with these children of low-income households to complete their school work Monday-Friday 2-6 pm in PSHH Education Centers located at our properties.
Also, by including the parents in the academic process, YEEP empowers parents to be involved in their child's academic success. The program has been effective in increasing math and English literacy competencies and in keeping children at their grade level, which helps them graduate from high school and go on to higher education and career opportunities. Enhancement activities offer the children the opportunity to explore art, music and science, and to learn about colleges, universities and career opportunities for the future.