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Santa Maria Community Services Tackles Educational Inequities with Comprehensive Literacy Initiative Supported by $30,000 Scripps Howard Fund Grant

June 3, 2024

Christy Cauley                                                             
Santa Maria Community Services, Inc.
(513) 557-7297

CINCINNATI, OH – Santa Maria Community Services, Inc. is pleased to announce the generous support of a $30,000 grant from the Scripps Howard Fund for its Promoting Our Preschoolers (POP) program. This initiative directly addresses the educational challenges faced by the children in the Greater Price Hill area, one of Cincinnati’s most diverse and economically disadvantaged communities.
H.A. Musser, Jr., President and CEO of Santa Maria Community Services, expressed his gratitude, stating, "This generous grant from the Scripps Howard Fund enables us to significantly expand our literacy programs. Our goal is to bridge the early childhood education gap exacerbated by poverty and limited preschool availability in Price Hill. Catching up once children start kindergarten behind is a challenge, making it crucial to address issues early, before children begin kindergarten.”
In partnership with Dr. Sisan Cuervo, a bilingual speech-language pathologist and assistant professor at Mount St. Joseph University, Santa Maria Community Services will offer a series of summer reading camps designed to prepare children for kindergarten and beyond. These camps are part of a broader effort to improve kindergarten readiness scores in Price Hill, where many children face educational and linguistic barriers.
The initiative includes:
A 5-week Kindergarten Readiness Event at Rapid Run Park, featuring interactive stories and crafts to enhance cognitive and fine motor skills.
Monthly multicultural group meetings at the City Gospel Mission's Little Village, fostering a community of learning and cultural exchange.
Additional seasonal reading camps in the spring and summer of 2025, focusing on literacy and language-based activities, with additional support for parents and older siblings to create an inclusive and supportive family learning environment.
Meredith Delaney, president and CEO of the Scripps Howard Fund, highlighted the importance of early literacy support, stating, "Investing in children’s education is one of the most impactful ways to support our communities. We are proud to partner with Santa Maria Community Services on the Promoting Our Preschoolers program. Their multi-cultural reading camps will not only focus on literacy, language and kindergarten readiness; they will empower children and their families with the tools and confidence they need to succeed in school and beyond.”
The camps aim to improve children's reading scores significantly, with pre-tests and post-tests administered using the DIAL-4 assessment tool to measure improvements in language, motor skills, and social development. The program also uses the Ready Rosie platform to provide tailored home-based learning solutions, enhancing the impact of the program through proven educational strategies.
Parents or caregivers interested in enrolling their children in the reading camps are encouraged to participate in this educational opportunity. The camps will run on Thursdays from June 6 – July 11 (except July 4), from 1 to 2 p.m. at Rapid Run Park. For enrollment details, please contact 513-235-7721.

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