Literacy has been a huge focus for the Border View Family YMCA, and they have the results to prove it. Their literacy program is having a significant impact in the community they serve throughout the San Ysidro area.

The Y is transforming the lives of children by increasing their reading comprehension and literacy skills with 45 minutes of direct literacy instruction at three Chula Vista elementary schools: Los Altos, Silver Wing, and Juarez-Lincoln. Currently, they are serving nearly 80 students and have seen 70 percent of the students improve their literacy scores during the 2016-2017 school year alone. These scores are measured by an online test called i-Ready.

At the beginning of this year, the Border View Y’s literacy program received a $10,000 grant from the Scripps Howard Foundation and a donation of 1,300 books, paid for by ABC 10News employees. These donations were a critical component of sustaining and expanding the Y’s literacy program.

Reading is a complex process - difficult for some and easy for others. For third grader, Valeria Gonzalez, being part of the program has helped her gain confidence in reading and improve her grades. “I love to read because it helps me learn new words, and the pictures and stories take me on exciting adventures,” she said. This program is not only designed for students who are reading below grade level, but most importantly, it serves to build their confidence as scholars.

The literacy program provides students the opportunity to learn things they normally would not learn until they are older. This helps to increase their interest and inspire their love of reading. Through topics like nanotechnology, genetics, the Stone Age and much more, students are not only acquiring useful knowledge, but promoting their natural curiosity and sparking an interest to learn more.

Danielle Robello, the YMCA Team Leader for the program says the secret to success is that they examine what interests excite or intrigues their students. “Knowing their interests helps us pinpoint what subjects they may enjoy reading about,” said Robello. “It’s truly a unique and inspiring program that supplements the students’ school education by making topics relatable and bringing them to life.”

The YMCA of San Diego County gives children opportunities to gain confidence as they recognize the Y as a place where they belong and can feel comfortable exploring new interests and passions. The Y provides all youth with the tools and resources they need to succeed in life.

For more information about this program, or other Y services for the San Ysidro area, visit www.ymca.org/borderview