Holiday Break Book Club, Field Trip Teaches Valuable Lessons
The second half of the school year is in full swing by now, but the free days just after the New Year provided unique opportunities for our young people to learn more about important subjects.
The first program focused on the Holocaust. Each of our kids chose a survivor and listened to their story.
“It’s important that we ensure the youth have an understanding of key historical events, especially after e-learning during the COVID quarantine period,” Veronica Quintero, coordinator of tutoring and after school programs, said. Quintero cited reports about an alarming lack of Holocaust awareness among U.S. youth in recent years.
That exercise prepared them for a visit to the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in Skokie at the end of last week. Aaron was one of the participants in the deeply moving and illuminating experience. He had heard about the Holocaust in the past but was struck to learn about the Nazi’s genocidal “Final Solution.”
Quintero also led a three-day book club where the youth read a graphic novel titled “Banned Book Club,” and were asked questions throughout about what they learned.
My goal is to increase youths’ access to reading, increase their interest in reading, and to improve youths’ overall literacy rates here on campus.
“It was shocking that they did a lot more than I knew,” Aaron said.
“My goal is to increase youths’ access to reading, increase their interest in reading, and to improve youths’ overall literacy rates here on campus,” Quintero said. In choosing a graphic novel, Quintero allowed kids of all literacy levels to participate and showed them how authors use their voice to tell stories in compelling ways.
“Banned Book Club” followed a college student in South Korea’s dictatorial Fifth Republic in 1983. The young woman avoided politics on her university campus until she found herself involved in an underground banned book club. After attracting the attention of government authorities, the student quickly began to realize that her peers were disappearing, leading her to question much of what she had been taught and advocating for democracy.
I want to show how much we care about them and their right to learn.
Some of the themes of the book included critical thinking, media literacy, working together as a community, supporting each other, and the value of access to education in upholding a free and civil society.
“A lot of our youth have really poor relationships with school, which I totally understand, but I want to reawaken their interest in learning and stoke some flames of appreciation for the access to education,” Quintero said. “I want to show how much we care about them and their right to learn.”
Mercy Home’s donors make it possible for coworkers like Veronica Quintero to encourage reading and learning habits in our kids that will help them inside the and outside of the classroom, and we are grateful.