When Yvette and Rogelio were expecting their first child, they began looking for a new apartment. At one community, Foothills Court in Phoenix, the manager told them about an interesting program that took place there, one that brought residents together and taught parents about reading to kids at an early age.
Yvette is a photographer who takes pictures of newborn babies at Phoenix Baptist Hospital; her husband Rogelio is a landscaper. Both of them are 21 and are always looking for ways to improve their parenting skills. After moving to Foothills Court, they signed up for the program immediately. It turned out to be Southwest Human Development’s Raising A Reader program.
When their daughter Ana was one, Yvette took her to Raising A Reader for two hours each week for eight weeks. Yvette was surprised to learn that it’s important to read to babies; her own mother, she says, didn’t really read to her when she was young.
The class sang and danced, activities that help promote language development and parent-child bonding. Yvette feels that Raising A Reader also helped her understand more about age-appropriate books. “The library has so many books,” Yvette says. “Who knows what’s appropriate for what age?” The family now incorporates what they have learned into their daily routines, including reading books every night at bedtime.
Through a unique collaboration with the Arizona Multihousing Association, Raising A Reader workshops take place in affordable housing apartment complex community rooms. Communities are built as families meet, connect and support one another. Raising A Reader trainers connect participants with local resources, including health care, parenting education and libraries. Apartment managers find that the program helps establish stable, nurturing communities.
Photos by Christine Keith