What’s happening at wrtl
Turning Readers into Leaders – July 12, 2018
JEWISH JOURNAL | It’s summertime and the school bells are no longer ringing, but more than 400 students from Title I schools continue to board school buses. All over Los Angeles, kindergartners through eighth-graders hop out of those buses onto the grounds of several Jewish institutions, and they’re all greeted with enthusiastic cheers. They’re served breakfast, followed by a “Reading Rally” featuring cheers, chants, a read-aloud session and a visit by a community guest. Welcome to a typical morning in the Wise Readers to Leaders (WRTL) Summer Literacy and Enrichment Program. Click here to continue reading article.
First Day of Summer – June 25, 2018
This year we are serving 400 scholars from Kinder through 9th grade, and have some of our returning high-schoolers working as bus monitors and classroom aids. We have also opened a new campus! Thanks to Wilshire Boulevard Temple, we are now able to reach more kids in a new and high-need area of Los Angeles. Our scholars are already benefiting from the new and innovative curriculum created and implemented by our team of Education Directors.
Impact Day – May 11, 2018
Thanks to a partnership with Lionsgate Entertainment, we were able to complete four campus beautification projects at one of our partner LAUSD elementary schools on Impact Day. We painted an outdoor mural, did a garden makeover, cleaned the library and painted an indoor mural, and facilitated STEAM activities along with a donated cart from Two Bit Circus. It was a successful day and we are thankful for all the volunteers who helped make it happen!
Spring Event – March 10, 2018
Over 100 scholars and families joined us for a cross-cultural celebration of Passover and Easter this spring. Scholars, parents, and teen volunteers partook in hands-on activities that taught about the traditions and history of Passover. Scholars were able to participate in a fun easter egg hunt to top it all off! Our teen volunteers planned all of the activities and did a stunning job leading the day.
Annual Event – March 7, 2018
We had our best donor event yet, with an outstanding silent auction, teen volunteer and middle school scholar speakers, and generous donations from our loyal supporters. Four star teen volunteer Junior Literacy Leaders were honored with Teen Volunteer of the Year awards – thank you Gwen Strasberg, Maddy Glick, Kyle Reims, and Josh Bronte! Thank you to all who were able to join us, your support means the world to us and our scholars!
Holiday Party – December 2, 2017
Over 200 scholars, parents, and volunteers joined us at our annual Holiday Party this month! It was a fun-filled day of book wrapping, ornament making, games, a photobooth, holiday music, cookie decorating, clay snowman creations, and more. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to close out another year with our WRTL community!
Mitzvah Day – November 5, 2017
Wise Readers to Leaders hosted a satellite Mitzvah Day in the community of program participants at the Reseda Recreation Center. Scholars, families, and WRTL volunteers all created placemats, holiday cards, and gift bags in partnership with Meals on Wheels. They also made Stars of Hope to be sent to Syria in the Wise packages. Parents had the opportunity to speak with Bet Tzedek community lawyer Casey Raymond about workers’ rights and engage in dialogue about how to secure minimum wage and navigate larger employment systems. It was a successful day of giving back and engaging the WRTL community!
Teen Volunteers Present at Interfaith Vigil – October 16, 2017
Our teen volunteer Junior Literacy Leaders presented alongside clergy from 25 of Los Angeles’ institutions about prayers of healing and inspiration at the Interfaith Vigil at Stephen S. Wise Temple. The evening was full of song and hopeful words to remind participants of the highest values that hold us together as a community and a nation in these challenging times: compassion (חסד), justice (צדק), and mutual respect (כבוד).
Remote Reading and Remote Leading Programs Launch! – September 19, 2017
Our age-specific and literacy-based mentorship programs launched for the 2017/2018 academic years. Kinder-5th grade scholars are our Remote Readers and are paired with a teen volunteer. We have almost 50 pairs this year, and each one speaks once a week on the phone to read and discuss the designated book together. Our middle school scholars are the Remote Leaders and are participating in our pilot literacy-based mentorship program. We are starting off strong with 25 pairs that speak on the phone weekly about the assigned reading while getting to know each other at the same time. Every 4-6 weeks, the entire Remote Leading group gets together for a larger book club and field trip. We are excited to run both these programs this year!
Wise Readers to Leaders in the News! – August, 2017
Wise Readers to Leaders is a proud recipient of a $250,000 Cutting Edge Grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles. Click on the news sources below to learn more the award!
Rock the Clock Telethon Fundraiser – August 2, 2017
Our second annual Rock the Clock campaign went off in full swing this summer. Our 5-8th grade scholars were able to volunteer to help make calls to our community of supporters to fundraise for our programming. Scholars had a blast making calls and getting to personally explain to people the positive impact that WRTL has on their lives. Thanks to the hard work of scholars and staff, plus the matching donations of our generous partners, we raised $70,000!
Parent Workshops – Summer 2017
Every week over the summer, workshops are held to bring our scholars’ parents into the learning that takes place during our program. This summer we had a professional chef come in to do an interactive demonstration on nutrition and healthy cooking, a lawyer discuss immigration policy and recent changes, an advocate for immigrant rights do a hands-on demo to prepare emergency documents with families, and a staff-led evening of STEM-oriented games where families participated in friendly competitions together. Extending the learning of our scholars into their homes is critical in ensuring that parents are involved and supportive of literacy gains.
Career Fair Day – July 26, 2017
The middle schoolers at Wise Readers to Leaders had the opportunity to meet a range of successful individuals in their respective careers. The generous folks who volunteered their time to share with our 6-8th grade scholars included an advertising creative at Google, a doctor, a policeman, a professional bassoon player, an actress, the Diversity Coordinator at UCB, an army veteran, a teacher, a social worker, and a business entrepreneur. The scholars prepared questions to ask each professional and learn about a range of different career opportunities. Thank you to all who came out to make this day special for our scholars!
Surf Day! – July 18, 2017
This summer, our middle schoolers got to enjoy the healing powers of cold saltwater in the heat of high summer. Thank you to a generous donation from Marjorie Nielsen, all of our middle school scholars were able to get surf lessons with Go Surf LA. Some scholars had never been to the beach before, let alone surfed! It was an incredible day of new experiences and adventure. Every single one of our middle schoolers swam in the ocean that day, despite grumbles of not wanting go on the trip beforehand. A great success in the sun, sand, and waves!
Play it Forward! – Summer 2016
ABC News visited our Wise Campus last week to film our Scholars receiving brand new sports equipment thanks to a generous grant from an organization founded by a high school kid wanting to make our city a better place.
Donor Thank You Event 2016 – Spring 2016
We celebrated our past year’s success and thanked our incredible donors at the lovely home of Glenn and Andrea Sonnenberg. Alex Johnson, Executive Director of CDF California, spoke to the group about the impact the program has in aiding underserved children as we work together to shrink the widening achievement gap.
|Teen Volunteers of the Year
Vanessa Keushkerian, Andie Gilder
and Matthew Bahar
|Guest Speaker Alex Johnson with
Rabbi Ron Stern and Andrea Sonnenberg
Portraits of Hope – Summer 2016
Wise Readers to Leaders visited Portraits of Hope recently on one of several field trips. Portraits of Hope, developed initially for seriously ill and physically disabled children, conceives and develops one-of-a-kind motivational art projects that merge the production of dynamic public art works with creative therapy for hospitalized children and civic education for students of all ages. Our scholars helped to paint floral disks that will be used in Animal Shelters across Los Angeles to aid in their beautification.