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Bush School Students Honor Literacy Initiative

September 06, 2016

Texas A&M students from the Bush School visited Ben Milam Elementary School to support the Read by 3rd program.

Texas A&M students from the Bush School visited Ben Milam Elementary School to support the Read by 3rd program.

Twenty-five years after President George H.W. Bush signed the National Literacy Act, students at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University, continue his commitment to improving national literacy and encouraging lifelong learning.

Graduate students involved with the Bush School’s Public Service Organization (PSO) spend the first Saturday of every month volunteering their time with a local organization, Read by 3rd. The program is based in Bryan, Texas, and aims to help parents develop the skills and resources needed to help their children improve reading skills. Bush School students support the program by planning activities that get students excited about learning and literacy, while also serving as role models to the young children.

“Volunteering with [Read by 3rd] is a great opportunity to interact with both students and parents of the community,” Bush School Master of Public Service and Administration student and program volunteer Becky Calahan said.  “This program serves the higher goal of improving literacy and provides a sense of community for those involved.”

Read by 3rd was founded in 2013 by Daniel Hernandez, a native of Bryan, former city councilman, and long-time community volunteer.  Hernandez recognized a community need to inspire parental involvement in programs that help children and developed the program in an effort to encourage parents to help their children learn to read at grade level by the third grade, and thus become readers for life.  Read by 3rd is unique in that the focus is on the parents—the most significant teacher in a child’s life.  Mr. Hernandez is now working to expand the program to neighboring College Station ISD.

PSO is a Bush School organization offering opportunities for students to interact with the community where they live and attend school, while also exemplifying the service-oriented philosophy of President Bush that “public service is a noble calling.”  Throughout the school year, PSO members volunteer with various community organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life and Texas A&M University’s campus-wide volunteer campaign, The Big Event.  Involvement in Read by 3rd provides Bush School student volunteers with a unique perspective on an issue so important to the Bush family.

“President and Mrs. Bush were and continue to be strong advocates for improving national literacy,” said Calahan. “Being able to support their cause in our community is just one of the ways Bush School students seek to continue their legacy.”

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