The Family Conservancy is excited to introduce Talk, Read, Play Americorps VISTA volunteer Christy Alexander. Alexander has made a year-long, full-time commitment to support kindergarten readiness in the metro by working on the Talk, Read, Play campaign.
Why did you choose the VISTA volunteer program?
I chose the volunteer program because it was important to me to be active in the fight against poverty in the community. I’m taking one year to serve and it’s my way to give back through my time and effort.
Why did you choose TFC and the TRP campaign?
TFC’s vision and goals closely align with my own professional goals. TFC’s vision is bright futures for children and families as well as breaking the cycle of poverty. I seek to be an advocate for children, a voice for vulnerable populations, and to be a facilitator of positive change. I strongly believe in the TRP campaign. Children’s first five years are when they develop the foundation for all future learning—trillions of brain connections are being formed. It’s important to invest in them during this time of exponential growth.
When you chose the TRP campaign, what were you most excited about?
Educating caregivers about the importance of Talk, Read, Play in their child’s language and brain development as well as giving tools to incorporate it into the day to day routine.
After getting to know the campaign, what do you see as the value?
It will provide a tremendous benefit to the community. The value for children is: increased literacy rates, better academic outcomes, and greater likelihood of reaching their full developmental potential.
In your research/study has there been anything that has really stood out to you or helped to illustrate the value of TRP?
The TRP campaign is based on the 1995 research study from Hart and Risley, “Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children.”
What stands out to me is that brain and language development are not the only factors that proven to promote academic success. Research demonstrates that giving children encouragement or praise is also key to helping children thrive.
In your short time working on the program, have you interacted with any parents, children or community members? Can you think of an interaction that exemplifies your work?
Yes, At Juniper Gardens I was able to read a story to a child. He asked many questions about the animals in the books. I answered his questions and asked him for feedback. It exemplifies my work by demonstrating that caregivers must be tuned in and it’s the interactions where learning takes place-- not just simply reading words.
About the AmeriCorps VISTA Program
VISTA, Volunteers in Service to America, is a national service program that works to eliminate poverty. Since conceived by President John F. Kenndy in 1965, over 220,000 VISTA members have served in all 50 states. Whether expanding job-training services for out of work coal miners, recruiting disadvantaged youth for computer literacy and coding classes, or combatting homelessness among our veterans, AmeriCorps VISTA members help others while gaining valuable skills for their career.