The children we serve at Urban Youth Impact all have a unique story to tell of who they are. They each come from different backgrounds; some with more challenges than others. In those stories, however, there is always hope and opportunities for them to flourish. One story that is the epitome of hope is Jayde, a kindergartner in our Leadership Academy.
Jayde was introduced to Urban Youth Impact and our programs last summer while at Back 2 School Blast, where she received a backpack full of supplies for the upcoming academic year. In addition, she also met a few of her future classmates and teacher for the year, Ms. Sarah.
Ms. Sarah, The Leadership Academy’s Kindergarten Team Leader, noticed quickly Jayde was not where she should be and her fine motor skills were lacking. Upon starting at The Leadership Academy, Jayde was not able to recognize the letters of the alphabet nor sound them out.
At an early age, Jayde suffered a stroke affecting both her left and right sides of her brain. This caused her to experience muscle weakness in her left arm, primarily affecting her ability to grab things with her hand.
Ms. Sarah and her Reframe intern Iesha established goals for Jayde and began working one-on-one for an hour each day. They started small, identifying each letter and sounding them out. As she improved, Jayde began working on lessons through Headsprout, a reading program that uses effective, interactive online episodes to teach K-5 students. Here, Jayde began to excel, working independently through various lessons on a regular basis.
“At the beginning of the year, Jayde took a literacy assessment where her baseline score was 353, which is very low. Recently, I re-tested her and she scored a 709, which is grade equivalent of an 8th-month Kindergartner, and a huge improvement. She went from not being able to identify any letters in the alphabet to knowing all of the letters and their sounds. She is the most improved learner I have ever worked with,” said Ms. Sarah.
From the beginning, Ms. Sarah knew it was going to take time and repetition in order for Jayde to develop into a better reader. She constantly advocated for Jayde to ensure she was receiving the proper assistance, whether in school or at The Leadership Academy.
Jayde has never allowed her experiences to hinder her in the classroom as she worked towards improving her reading comprehension. Since her tremendous improvement, one of her favorite activities to do is to sit in the reading corner and listen to stories, continuing to broaden her vocabulary and familiarity with words. Jayde’s parents are encouraged and excited to see the growth their daughter has experienced in the last year.
Stories like Jayde’s are the reason Urban Youth Impact exists. Our heart is to love, equip and empower youth in order that they reach their fullest potential; not allowing their current circumstances to dictate their future aspirations.