BROOMFIELD, Colo. -- Every day after school, about three dozen kids make their way to the Salvation Army’s community center in Broomfield to have a snack and do their homework.
“At each of these schools we are working to combat the lack of literacy or illiteracy in these communities by working with these children and their families,” said Kristen Baluyot, the director of Family Programs for the Salvation Army.
Baluyot said many low-income families do not have the time or capacity to provide opportunities for literacy skill building exercises with their kids.
“Books tend to be fewer in low-income homes, the conversations that are had, as well as the vocabulary that is spoken tends to be more limited sometimes,” she said.
The problem is often exacerbated when families face uncertain futures.
“Each move that a child makes when they're facing homelessness drops them three months behind the other kids in their classes,” Baluyot added.
That’s why reading and doing homework are the focal point of Salvation Army afterschool programs like the one in Broomfield.
They hope to encourage kids to become not just better readers, but lifelong learners.
“They're going to see that reading fun and it opens up those doors for things down the road for them,” Baluyot added.