Here at United Way, we are fortunate to work with some of the most service-oriented and compassionate people. Today, we’d like to spotlight Stephanie Guadarrama, who has helped coordinate Kindergarten Countdown Camp (KCC), our free summer learning program for incoming kindergarten students with little to no preschool experience. KCC prepares students for a successful start in kindergarten. Students adjust to the classroom setting, practice following directions and rules, and practice key kindergarten skills such as recognizing shapes, letters, counting, and writing their names.
Read on to learn more about KCC and why the program is so important to the children and families involved, all from Stephanie’s perspective.
Pictured: Stephanie working with a student at Kindergarten Countdown Camp.
What is your role at KCC?
My role at KCC is Camp Coordinator. I work alongside my two colleagues, Rosa and Shareny, in preparing KCC to be held at different locations. Pre-COVID, I was able to provide additional assistance in the classroom for the teachers.
How does KCC benefit the children and families involved?
KCC is beneficial for our children and families because it helps ease those first-day jitters, especially for parents sending their first child to school. The students benefit from learning a morning routine, riding the bus, and how to make new friends. Parents can learn how to communicate and collaborate with the school.
What obstacles do families in our community face that prevent children from being prepared for kindergarten?
The main obstacle a lot of our families face is a lack of resources. Many parents have no idea where to turn or who to ask for assistance with registering for school, accessing school supply lists, finding out what the health requirements are, etc. That typically shies them away from getting their student ready for school. Not only does KCC help those students with little to no preschool experience, but KCC also guides parents in the right direction to ensure their students have a successful school year.
Could you share a success story of how KCC has benefited an individual student?
Every summer, I wonder how our students end up doing in kindergarten. Two summers ago, I had the opportunity to work for one of the school districts we held our camp in. A few of the students we had in our camp ended up attending kindergarten at the same school I was hired at. I ended up working closely with one of those students in a small group setting. My favorite success story is seeing her now, going into 2nd grade, and having been able to watch her grow and excel in school.
What has been the most memorable part of your involvement with KCC so far?
Just being in the classroom with the students (pre-COVID) and watching them actively learn and seeing their excitement for school grow!
To support more programs, like Kindergarten Countdown Camp, visit www.LIVEUNITEDlakecounty.org/give.