This month we celebrate the many important roles mothers play in our families and communities.

A Month of Recognizing Mothers’ Importance

This month we celebrate the many important roles mothers play in our families and communities. They are teachers, caregivers and leaders. One such person is Maria, who lives with her teen-aged children and husband in the Canal neighborhood of San Rafael near Parent Services Project’s office. Small statured with short hair, she has a lot of energy and is upbeat. She is also brave.

Maria had been a volunteer with PSP for over three years when she heard about our home day care Ambassadors program whereby local parent leaders are trained as volunteers to visit early childhood home programs to reinforce early literacy through the reading and telling of stories, singing songs and teaching rhymes.

Maria attended the next Ambassadors training where her eagerness was readily apparent. Then the paperwork was passed around. Maria looked confused and turned to her neighbor with questions. Noticing Maria’s discomfort, the trainer pulled her aside to ask if she could help. At first Maria demurred. She could not do the program. When pressed, she said she could not read. She was quiet and embarrassed.

The goal of our family literacy program is to teach very young children a love of books. This comes about when the parent, caregiver or educator brings a story to life. It is even more effective when the educator, as is the case with Maria, uses costumes and props to enliven and engage the children.

Maria overcame her own fears to be a role model for the mothers and fathers in our community who cannot read in their own languages much less English. She teaches parents strategies for relaying a story using a book’s illustrations and their own knowledge of the children’s interests. She builds on the best part of all parents, namely, the desire for their children to feel loved and do well.

You can learn more about PSP’s family literacy program here