Association of Future Teachers aims to improve literacy

March 19, 2012

April Wefler
awefler@uccs.edu

So your mom gave you all the children’s books she used to read to you when you were a kid. She said they had sentimental value and you could read them to your kids someday. Little does she know, you don’t plan to ever produce any germ-factories.

So what do you do with the books? Drop them in one of the green donation boxes outside the ROAR office and at the library entrances.

The Association of Future Teachers (AFT) is hosting a book drive for Project Literacy on the Go. AFT is accepting donations of any children’s’ books, including fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

Project Literacy on the Go was started by Barbara Swaby, professor of education and a President’s Teaching Scholar. The program helps provide books to children in low-income families.

“We wanted to contribute and support literacy,” said club president Jillian Mathena. In order to help the program, AFT started a book drive on campus to collect donations.

The book drive is not the only way AFT has helped the community, though. In the past, the group participated in the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), an organization aiming to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans.

“A few members volunteered throughout the year – helped middle-schoolers after school with confidence-building and academic assistance,” said Mathena. Due to lack of funding, AFT didn’t get to participate in the program this year.

Other than participating in programs, members of AFT listen to presentations by faculty members and have various social events throughout the year.

“I’ve felt part of the campus life, and felt good contributing to the Colorado Springs and UCCS student community,” said Mathena.

She also added that members can experience different aspects of education before entering the education program. Additionally, they can help support education in Colorado Springs.

In fact, Mathena is currently student-teaching at Springs Ranch Elementary. She said it’s a lot of fun, but also a lot of hard work.

Still, for someone who’s been president of AFT since the spring semester of her freshman year, she was prepared for the job.

“Working with club members and hearing their experiences, as well as attending the presentations from faculty members, I felt prepared before I began my student teaching,” said Mathena.

Although education majors might benefit most from AFT, the club is open to anyone. Mathena pointed out that she’s gained great friendships with people in the education field from being part of the club.

Students interested in joining AFT can send an email to aft@uccs.edu. The student will be added to the email list and will be sent emails of events or volunteer opportunities.

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