Education Starts in the Home

 In Community Initiative, Parent Involvement Worker

Last year, Nancy Alvarez, a Parent Involvement Worker at Cesar Chavez Elementary and Middle School in East Palo Alto, identified a need to educate parents in her community about the importance of reading to their children.

“Our low-income community is located in one of the most privileged areas, yet it does not have the right tools to help our students succeed academically,” Nancy says. Many of the parents in the community do not speak English well or at all.

So, she created the Read to Your Kids program to support parents’ involvement in their children’s education and help them navigate the school system.


Through Read to Your Kids, small groups of five parents at a time are taken to visit Kepler’s Books, a local bookstore. Nancy gives a presentation, where she teaches these parents how to get involved in the school and advocate for their children’s education, how to have a relationship with their children’s teachers, and how to assess and choose books within their children’s reading level. They are encouraged to read with their children at least 10 minutes every day. Then, the parents take a tour of the bookstore to see all the different genres—for most, this is their first time in a bookstore—and each family is given 30 dollars to purchase books to take home and read to their children. This is followed by a group lunch, hosted by Kepler’s Books.

Nancy says, “I believe education starts in the home. It’s crucial that the children develop reading habits because their success in school depends on how well they are able to read and understand.”

Philanthropic Ventures Foundation is proud to support this important work in the East Palo Alto community.

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