One of the ways The Springs Community Christian Reformed Church in Austin, Tex., is blessing its community is by bringing back a reading program that had ended five years earlier because of budget cuts.
The Springs pastor, Richard Villarreal, sat down with Dounna Roth, principal of Langford Elementary School, and asked her what ways The Springs could help bless the school. One of the things she mentioned was to re-implement the Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) program.
“My first reaction was that this [program cut] was unacceptable,” Villarreal said. “We have to do something about it. For at-risk youth, especially kids who don’t learn to read by second, third, or fourth grade, their chances of being incarcerated exponentially increase.”
With the RIF program, children receive two free books twice a year. They received books in the month of October and will participate in a book swap in the spring. This initiative helps children who do not have books at home to read.
Villarreal said “There are also after-school reading programs that will be implemented; these will consist of The Springs volunteers reading to the kids as well as their parents.” After-school reading will be in both English and Spanish.
“We always want to be a church in the city, for the city; a church that is actively involved in the city with the neighborhood,” Villarreal said. “If we can support education initiatives, it helps not only in the betterment of a child but the betterment of the community as a whole.”