View Park’s Reading Proficiency Program celebrates their anniversary by honoring the academic achievements of local school students, and the hard work of community volunteers. (NCNW/Jason Lewis)

The View Park Section of the National Council of Negro Women, Incorporated (NCNW) celebrated their signature Reading Proficiency Program’s first-year anniversary by honoring the phenomenal literacy gains attained by their students. Parents, students, friends, volunteers, school personnel, NCNW officers and members attended the Awards Celebration on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, at the NCNW Council House on West 54th Street in Los Angeles.

The celebration began with a warm welcome from NCNW View Park Section’s President, Dianne Lewis-Carter. Dr. Helena Johnson, National Vice President of the National Council of Negro Women continued the greeting by presenting an overview of the accomplishments of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. and their involvement in supporting and advocating for programs in the community as well as on the national level. Past President/Chair of the National Council of Negro Women, Ingrid Saunders Jones, has stated, “We are more committed than ever to strengthen the African American family and build our communities. That can only be achieved by education, economic empowerment, public policy and collaboration.” Dr. Johnson then complimented the children for their successes and urged them to continue their accomplishments not only in literacy, but also in attaining a good education and great future.

The Reading Proficiency Program chair, Janet Taylor, introduced her staff of volunteers who come from various professions. Gwen Ribbs, assistant chair, spoke briefly on the Reading Proficiency Programs’ objective to improve the literacy outcomes for at-risk students in the community. She emphasized the need to attain grade-level proficiency as measured by the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). Ribbs then elaborated on the fact the reading books, basic school supplies, operational materials as well as the nutritious snacks provided to the students are in-kind donations by the staff members.

Staff members, Dr. Barbara Richardson, assisted by Anne Mayer, began the awards segment by calling each student forward congratulating them with a beautiful multi-colored floral lei and a Reading Proficiency Program Certificate. Numerous students received multiple awards for having a perfect attendance record. Dr. Angela Massengale, Director of the Little Angels CCDC, a distinguished school in View Park – Windsor Hills, proudly observed her students receiving these commendations. The student awardees represented many local elementary schools: Hillcrest, Windsor Hills, 54th Street, Hoover Avenue, View Park Preparatory, Warren Lane, Frank D. Parent and La Tijera.

NCNW View Park former President, Carolynn Martin, continued the awards presentation by acknowledging the excellent performance of the community volunteers who assisted the Reading Proficiency Program. NCNW member, Carolyn McGruder, the Reading Proficiency Program’s administrator and nutritionist, then presented the Distinguish Volunteer Awards to the recipients.

The Reading Proficiency Program chair gave the closing remarks; she reiterated the importance of reading and the program’s commitment to improving the literacy outcomes for at-risk students by aligning the program with the California Common Core State Standards and emphasizing the four literacy strands: 1) Reading 2) Writing 3) Speaking and 4) Listening. “We are determined to close the reading gap as much as possible for children enrolled in our program,” she said. She also stated, “We are very excited about our students wanting to read and enjoying the taste of success. They are so proud of themselves. They are now asking us for homework and permission to take the reading books home. This is incredible!”

As the celebration ended, parents began approaching the staff members thanking them for helping their children. One parent approached a team member to thank her for helping her grandson. According to one excited parent, her grandson was very “reluctant to read in the beginning and now, not only has he achieved grade level proficiency, he has surpassed his classmates and is reading one grade level above norm.” Another grateful parent thanked a team member for remarkably helping her shy child to blossom. According to the parent, her child’s teacher performed an extraordinary job helping her to “catch up” to grade level. A very timid girl was able to develop self-confidence and move forward in acquiring grade level proficiency because of a team member’s expertise in psychology.

Although the Reading Proficiency Program only enrolls students 6 – 12 years of age, plans are in place to ensure students continue to receive academic tutoring, mentoring and wrap-around services once they exit the program. They will be reaching out to their affiliates to guarantee students continue on a successful path. According to the Reading Proficiency Program’s staff members, “We will continue to monitor our students until they reach their goals of college and career readiness. We will furthermore encourage them to reach out and help other children along the way.”

For further information about the program or to make a donation contact NCNW View Park at (323) 299-9751 or website: