United Way of El Paso County gives free books to summer kindergarten camp

United Way of El Paso County provided 5,000 books to children in a summer kindergarten readiness program thanks to a grant from Wells Fargo.

As part of United Way of El Paso County’s Literacy Initiative, the two week- pilot-program gave children in the Ysleta School District who did not attend Pre-K the opportunity to participate.

Parents, Omar and Jill Sifuentes saw the “Summer K Camp” as an opportunity to help their daughter prepare herself for when she started school in the fall.

“She didn’t go to Pre-K, but she is now prepared to succeed in Kindergarten,” Omar Sifuentes said. “We saw a difference in our daughter, even in the first few days of the camp.”

The Summer K Camp is designed to prepare children who did not attend Pre-K to succeed in kindergarten by using the Frog Street Curriculum to teach social skills, classroom behavior and basic reading skills.

The Wells Fargo Grant, which totals $100,000, provided children with books to start and grow their personal libraries through the Kindergarten Readiness Program family literacy events.

The Sifuentes’, both educators, have seen the benefits of what the Summer K Camp has offered children and the impact it will have on participant’s future.

“As teachers, we see firsthand the importance of being able to and having a love for reading,” Jill Sifuentes said. “Our daughter’s social skills have improved dramatically. It is an excellent camp to prepare children and we are thankful for the camp’s focus on literacy. ”

Ysleta School District teachers, Juanita Emerson and Vanessa Promesse also see the benefits of the Summer K Camp.

“The camp keeps the children active in learning and gives them insight into what to expect in the fall,” Emerson said. “The books will be great to get them comfortable with reading and teach them that reading is fun.

Emerson and Promesse hope the camp’s participating program will be motivated and encouraged to continue their education and reading habits throughout their lives.

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