Located on Hillsides’ main campus in Pasadena, the library serves children in Hillsides’ residential treatment program and the Hillsides Education Center (HEC). Vulnerable children in both programs suffer from serious emotional challenges, such as post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety.
“Our library program is an important aspect of Hillsides Residential Treatment program and regular library visits are essential components of each child’s treatment plan,” said Joseph M. Costa, Hillsides chief executive officer and Child Welfare League of America chair. “The library is also a natural extension of our Hillsides Education Center and a part of the school’s curriculum.”
The goal of the library program is to help children with special needs improve their reading and writing skills while helping them to develop a pastime that supports social and emotional well-being. Mostly a volunteer-driven library, volunteers engage children in weekly activities that support literacy. The charity’s librarian, Sherri Ginsberg, provides children with access to books and magazines. Ginsberg also invites visiting authors or poets to share their work and experience with the children. With support from donors, Ginsberg is able to invite the Storytellers to give students the opportunity to write and produce a one-act play through its program.
“The library’s approach to literacy is to engage children in activities that are stimulating, creative, and sensitive to their special needs,” said Costa. “Our children have serious learning challenges that make it difficult to read and write. A visiting poet can help a teenager tap into his feelings while a therapy dog offers a non-judgmental audience to a child who has trouble reading out loud.”
The charity has been fortunate to attract celebrity authors like Kristi Yamaguchi and Henry Winkler, who excite the students and motivate them to read.
“Every component of the library program encourages children to pick up a book, or a pen, and explore new worlds,” said Ginsberg. “It’s exciting to be a part of this with the children.”
Currently, Hillsides serves more than 6,900 vulnerable children and families living in Los Angeles County, including. To learn more about the children’s charity and how you can help, visit www.Hillsides.org and www.HillsidesEducationCenter.org or call 323-254-2274.
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Pasadena charity founded in 1913, Hillsides creates safe places for children in foster care living in its residential and community treatment centers preventing the cycle of abuse for children at risk and their families. Visit www.hillsides.org