For Immediate Release
June 27, 2012
Lillian Leopold, Chief Public Information Officer, (619) 482-6564, cell (619) 279-1627
Southwestern College ASTRA Club receives the ASTRA Service Award
ASTRA is recognized for their Leadership, Partnership, and Service
CHULA VISTA – Bringing Dr. Seuss’ “Read Across America” program to Chula Vista preschoolers earned the ASTRA Volunteer Club of Southwestern College the ASTRA Service award for the district that encompasses four states and Mexico.
ASTRA Club member Enrique Raymundo gets into the Dr. Seuss spirit during the Read Across America celebration at Mi Escuelita.
Members of the Southwestern College ASTRA Club and the Altrusa International Club of Chula Vista join together for the Read Across America activities at Mi Escuelita. L-R: Yvette Mier, Sharon Brower, Ana Bahena, Jennifer Burkhead, Enrique Raymundo, Ana Ochoa, Max Branscomb, Steph Suworow, April Smith.
ASTRA Club President Ana Bahena reads to a group of preschoolers.
Altrusa International, Inc. of Chula Vista, which has sponsored the club for three years, presented the award to ASTRA members last month.
The “Read Across America” program is a nationwide reading celebration that takes place annually on Dr. Seuss’ birthday. The Southwestern College ASTRA Club celebrated the March 2 event with books, party hats, and cake with the children at the Mi Escuelita Therapeutic Preschool. The preschool is for children affected by family violence, and it provides specialized services for three- to five-year-olds and their families.
The club spent the day reading books to the children in both smaller and larger groups, as well as sharing birthday cake and milk with them at snack time. They all sang “Happy Birthday” in honor of Dr. Seuss and they engaged in Dr. Seuss-related coloring activities. After a long day of fun, the students were given a copy of Dr. Seuss’s “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” to take home, as well as a stuffed animal donated by the Chula Vista Nature Center.
“The goals of the ASTRA Club were to bring a little bit of sun and joy into these special children’s’ lives by spending some quality time and giving them some much needed positive attention,” said April Smith, the ASTRA Club Chair for the Altrusa International Club of Chula Vista.
“The ASTRA college students understand how important education is and chose this project as a great way to share their enthusiasm and the significance of reading with young children,” she said.
The experience was just as rewarding for the college students as it was for the children at Mi Escuelita.
“We don’t know what the children’s lives are like outside of the school, but when we were there, we could see the happiness,” said Ana Bahena, the ASTRA Club president. “They were smiling, laughing and hugging us.
“I know that for those couple of hours that we spent with them, we made a small difference in their lives,” Bahena said.
Altrusa International, Inc. of Chula Vista sponsors the Southwestern College ASTRA club to mentor the student club in its mission of leadership, partnership, and service.
“ASTRA stands for Ability, Service, Training, Responsibility, and Achievement,” Smith said. “We are a civic-minded people who strive to create better communities worldwide.”