Super Stars is turning an exciting new page in our literacy journey. At the beginning of the new fiscal year (July 1, 2020) Super Stars Literacy became a project of the Safe Passages organization, a multi-service organization with over 25 years of experience serving Alameda County residents. Similar to our organization, Safe Passages disrupts the cycle of poverty by providing critical, community-based support services that facilitate youth and family engagement.
While this marks a new chapter for both our organizations, we begin on the same page. The shared missions, core beliefs, and values of Super Stars and Safe Passages align with those of our valued partners and community members like you. Most importantly, the strategic partnership between Super Stars and Safe Passages promises to deliver new and real advantages to children and families from Oakland and other communities in Alameda County. The board of Super Stars strongly believes that this transition will result in new and expanded services for vulnerable children and families.
A distinguishing characteristic of Safe Passages is the sustained level of support it provides, engaging with children and their families from pre-K all the way through high school. Additionally, it offers career development programs for family members and access to referral services for those who may benefit from congruent or supplementary support from other agencies. Thus, our Super Stars early literacy programming dovetails beautifully with the Safe Passages mission and we believe that our combined forces will benefit significantly more children.
Safe Passages implements a continuum of services birth through college and career, serving over 4200 students and families each year. The organization offers a robust menu of services that support academic success and social emotional development for children of color. Safe Passages has implemented successful literacy, academic support, and enrichment programs, preschool through grade 12, at many schools in Oakland and Alameda County.
Since shelter-in-place orders in March, Safe Passages has reorganized their service delivery model to meet the pressing and urgent needs of our children and families. With unprecedented rates of unemployment, the financial fallout of this pandemic particularly impacts low-wage, hourly employees who tend to have less job security than salaried workers and, due to the nature of their work, tend to have less money in savings.
For this reason, as we roll out the Super Stars Literacy program this school year, we will equally focus on ensuring that students and their families have basic needs met, including food security and mental health supports. The Safe Passages Super Stars Literacy program includes:
- Food distributions through partnerships with the Alameda County Food Bank and school partners and hundreds of community volunteers.
- Computer training for families to support virtual learning.
- Support for families in their own languages to complete forms for unemployment benefits and CalFresh.
- Continued development and training for the Super Stars Literacy AmeriCorps team in best practice virtual learning techniques, lesson planning and teacher collaboration.
- Proper training of all staff and protective personal equipment (PPE) to start face to face interventions at school sites once schools reopen.
- Accessible and culturally relevant mental health wellness checks for all families and children through our in-house services and referrals to our community partners.
Safe Passages will implement the Super Stars Literacy program at five high need elementary schools in Alameda County: Esperanza and Bridges at Melrose Elementary School in Oakland, Searles and Guy Emanuele elementary schools in New Haven/Union City, and Anna Yates TK-8 in Emeryville.
We, the Safe Passages Super Stars Advisory Board and Josefina Alvarado Mena, Safe Passages CEO, ask that you please join us by contributing to our work during this extraordinarily challenging period for our children and their families. They need us, and you, more than ever! You can continue your support of our early literacy efforts by making a donation here or by logging on to: www.safepassages.org. Please feel free to contact us directly at email@example.com with any questions.
With Sincere Gratitude,
Carla Koren, Safe Passages Super Stars Advisory Board Member
Josefina Alvarado Mena, Safe Passages CEO