JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - City Youth Ministries is now offering specialized help for students in need.
Denise Snider is the executive director of City Youth Ministries.
Snider said thanks to some recent funding, they're going to be able to help students even more than before.
"We've gotten funding through the Community Foundation," Snider said. "To fund a new connections cycle for one year here at City Youth. This will encompass about five to ten children daily in small group therapy using connections strategies."
So, what does this mean?
"The really cool thing about connections," Snider said. "The strategies are used to teach anyone to read work. Because they're hands on, they're interactive, they touch, they feel and they use their senses. Connections works for everyone. But we are also very passionate about reaching out to the dyslexic population that is in our building."
Snider said they want to provide teachers and parents with extra support.
"We want to come alongside these amazing educators," Snider said. "We want to come alongside and provide these interventions after school that can make the children more successful in the regular classroom. Plus, enrich their lives so that they can become better patrons of the community as adults and teenagers."
Snider said the therapists in City Youth have been trained and are ready.
"The two therapists we have in our building," Snider said. "That are going to be implementing these cycles of curriculum are trained. They have spent over a week training to learn the specific ways to implement these strategies."
Snider said this is an opportunity to help both children and parents with a service the kids need that the parents might not be able to afford.
"I'm a certified therapist," Snider said. "I've completed a three-year program where there's a deeper level of expertise. As most children who are identified with dyslexia, they have to go after school. Parents pay money to implement connections the way they are supposed to be implemented. It's twice a week for an hour. In the public realm, parents pay out of pocket at least $400 a month. It's at least that much to get that private therapy after school. We offer that free of charge. So, these children are getting this therapy for free thanks to donors who fund the salaries of these teachers."
Snider said she's seen the success of connections first hand.
"I am passionate about City Youth being able to offer this for two reasons," Snider said. "Parents are asking for help and as a public-school teacher for many years I saw what worked with children. And I know that connections works with any child because I've lived it. I've implemented it and I've seen the outcome. And the outcome is reading much more closely to grade level, on grade level or above. I've seen all three of those end of story scenarios."
Snider said they're working to give every child the opportunities they need to succeed in life.
"I feel very passionately that every child wants to read," Snider said. "Every adult wants to read. And I'm also very passionate that children who can't read, adults who can't read don't' make very good life decisions. So, this is kind of a protection. It's protection and a way for people to make better choices. And we need to offer that to these children while they're here."
For more information about City Youth Ministries, click here.
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