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City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown reads to children at Cornerstone Manor as part of the organization's new Read 2 Dream program.
City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown reads to children at Cornerstone Manor as part of the organization's new Read 2 Dream program.

Buffalo City Mission's Cornerstone Manor, Mayor Brown unveil new reading program for early childhood development

by jmaloni


Sat, Feb 28th 2015 10:45 am

Read 2 Dream program helps break the cycle of poverty by encouraging parents to read to their children

Buffalo City Mission's Cornerstone Manor has unveiled its new Read 2 Dream program with the help of City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. The program's purpose is to help break the cycle of poverty starting with disadvantaged young children by bridging gaps with the children's education and building pre-reading and language skills in order to foster academic growth. Read 2 Dream also will help alleviate language barriers that most of Cornerstone's children are facing on a daily basis.

Brown helped commemorate the start of this new program at Cornerstone Manor by reading to many children under age four. 

"The foundation for reading begins at infancy," Brown said. "Research shows that reading aloud to our young children is one of the best activities to stimulate language, cognitive skills, motivation building, curiosity and memory.

"Through the Read 2 Dream program, the City Mission and Cornerstone Manor will be able to equip disadvantaged mothers and their children with action steps, books and supplies that will build pre-reading and language skills important for childhood growth and development into adulthood. This is one of the most important steps we can take as a community to help stop the cycle of poverty and homelessness by reaching our youngest children at the time when they need this development the most."

By 18 months of age, children from disadvantaged families may be several months behind in language proficiency. An average child raised in a low-income family hears 30 to 50 percent less spoken words when compared to children in more affluent households; by the age of 6, the child has 17,000 fewer words in his or her vocabulary.

"Read 2 Dream is designed to help eliminate school difficulty for our children through the promotion of reading, which has been a proven contributor to school failure. A child's inability to advance through his or her schooling leads to risky behavioral and social choices, which perpetuate the cycles of poverty and dependency," Buffalo City Mission Associate Executive Director Aubrey Calhoun said. "Our goal is to address and alleviate the causes and symptoms that continue the progression of homelessness in our community. In an unprecedented way, Read 2 Dream allows us the ability to offer foundational tools for disadvantaged families that nurture the relationships between children, parents and teachers." 

About the Buffalo City Mission

The Buffalo City Mission, founded in 1917, is a not-for-profit organization that provides preventative, emergency and long-term recovery services to thousands of people who are homeless or impoverished. The City Mission includes: women and children's shelter (Cornerstone Manor); the men's community center; the mission automotive vehicle donation program; and a Dick Road thrift store to better serve the community.

For more information or for a tour, visit www.buffalocitymission.org or call 716-854-8181, ext. 431.

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