Maribel Palacios, former teacher and coordinator of La Asociación de Familias Hispanas de los Tarrytowns (“AFHT”), writes about her experiences and the positive impact this early literacy program is having on hundreds of local families.
Our Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow community is stronger because of the support AFHT gives to Hispanic families. AFHT is a bilingual family literacy program run by the Tarrytown School District for parents and children from 2-6 years old. It is offered at John Paulding School three nights each week during the school year. The program provides educational and cultural opportunities for the families and children to participate in. In addition, AFHT prepares children with vital skills and knowledge to be successful in pre-k, kindergarten and beyond.
I had the privilege of serving as a coordinator and teacher of the program for ten years. It was my pleasure to work with such hard working and dedicated families who attended the program at night, many walking there no matter the weather, pushing strollers up the hill to JP even in rain or snow! At each class they showed their passion for and commitment to the education of their children – – overcoming barriers such as lack of transportation or internet access. I am inspired by everything you do for your children!
Another asset of the AFHT is the opportunity for field trips with the families. Some years we would go apple-picking. Another event the families enjoyed was the Pinkster Festival at Philipsburg Manor where the children and parents learned about African-American history and culture. They enjoyed dancing, listening to music (especially the drums), the food and the storytelling. It was great to see the families having their picnics in this beautiful outdoor environment in our community.
I want to thank Kids’ Club’s donors for your constant support of our community and for sponsoring this and many other events where hundreds of children and families have benefited in Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow!! We couldn’t have made it without you!