The Tikkun Olam Committee, through its Education Group, has focused on ways CBHT members can play a role in supporting the educational needs of young people in our broader Asheville community. Our projects reflect our decision to take responsibility for the education of our neighbors, and for our personal translation into action of what it means to be “The People of the Book” in a world that has not reached a fair standard for economic and educational justice.
Children First/Communities in Schools
Children First/Communities In Schools (CIS) is a local non-profit committed to advocating and empowering children and families living in poverty. In addition to direct services, Children First/CIS engages in public policy advocacy campaigns to build opportunity for children and families. In response to the growing incidence of child poverty, Children First/CIS created The Success Equation, which unites community to reduce and prevent the incidence of poverty and its impact on children in Buncombe County.
The Tikkun Olam Committee has partnered to co-host faith community meetings for a chance to meet with a local elected leader and discuss issues important to the Success Equation for children and families – housing affordability, investments in early childhood, public transportation, health care, and juvenile justice. Participants hear what is coming up in the state session, learn how to best communicate with your elected officials, and network with other clergy and lay leaders interested in public policy advocacy.
First 2000 Days initiatives
The ability to read by the end of third grade is a critical measure of a child’s prospects in later life — essential to building an environment of economic justice. Being the “People of the Book” we recognize the importance of literacy for a critically thinking adult. In our community all children are not given the same opportunity for literacy success due to the differences in their experiences during their early years. Some children do not have easy access to appropriate age level books, are not consistently read to as a young child, and do not have a five-star quality daycare experience.
Working with the Buncombe Partnership For Children (http://buncombepfc.org/our-programs/championing-our-work/first-2000-days/), the Tikkun Olam committee has sponsored forums on the work of the First 2000 Days initiative and on how to effectively help young children develop their literacy skills and be ready for school when they turn five years old. The T.O. Education Group will continue to provide education to CBHT and community members on educational issues facing young people in our larger community.
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Book Shares – Book Collection 2017
The Book Share project started at Temple Beth HaTephila during the High Holidays of 2011. The goal of this effort was to put new or lightly used “picture books” in the homes of preschool children who may have literacy skill needs. Since that time over 5,000 books have been donated by Temple members during the Temple’s biennial children’s book drive. These donated books are given out at Book Share events held in the community, such as at local Head Start classrooms, Asheville YWCA, and at public schools at their Kindergarten Registration Day. During a Book Share event, children are given the opportunity to select books, have them read to, and take the books home for their home library. Please help us by saving your lightly used picture books for our next book collection!
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Preschool Reading Volunteers
The Tikkun Olam committee has instituted a partnership with local Head Start classes where congregation members can volunteer to assist in the classrooms. Head Start are government funded preschool classrooms for children from low income families to better prepare them for entering kindergarten. Literacy skills will certainly be a focus of this effort, but interested volunteers can serve in the classroom in a variety of ways. Books donated as part of the Book Shares initiative will become a part of this project as the books will be given to these children to take home to support their literacy development. The T.O. Education Group is always looking for more congregation members willing to volunteer to read with preschool classes. Please contact Sam Hausfather (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Marty Mann (email@example.com) for more information if you are interested.
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