Thank You, Timberwolves FastBreak Foundation

I am happy to announce that East Side Learning Center (ESLC) received a Minnesota Timberwolves Fastbreak Foundation grant for our summer Jump Start Literacy Camps! With the grant, the Wolves donated 12 tickets, light snacks and a suite. Several staff and I were delighted to invite three children and their parents to attend the game with us.  We hopped on the light rail together and headed to Target Center to cheer on the Wolfpack.

Before the game, Timberwolves CEO Ethan Casson presented a giant cardboard check on center-court to one of the ESLC students, Legend Scott, and me (pictured). View the video here.

One student said of the experience, “This was the best day ever.” Another sent a thank you card:

Dear ESLC,

It was a great time at the Timberwolves game last Friday. It was fun! Everything was so small when I was in the sky box.

Thank you,


ESLC thanks the Minnesota Timberwolves Fastbreak Foundation for providing these children with the opportunity to attend the game, enjoy treats and most importantly – funding to assist additional students this summer.

I ran into Legend, the boy featured in the Timberwolves video, in the hallway at one of our schools. Legend, a natural introvert, gave me a hug that melted my heart. I look forward to the day when the three students from the game, Legend, Angelo and Ryu, graduate from high school. On that day, I will remember the generosity of you, our supporters, and partner organizations like the Timberwolves!

About Jump Start Literacy Camps and Out of School Summer Reading

Researchers and educators state that children from low-income and/or minority backgrounds are further behind their middle-class counterparts and the achievement gap grows with each year:

While children from middle-class families show gains in reaching achievement during the summer, children from lower income families tend to lose ground. Several researchers argue that most of the achievement gap between majority and minority students can be explained and accounted for by the summer loss accumulation over 12 years of education.  On average children from low-income families lost nearly three months of grade-level equivalency during the summer compared to an average of one month by middle-income children.

ESLC is an educational partnership designed to increase equity in reading and school for previously marginalized students, including those living in poverty, of ethnic or minority descent and/or who are English Language Learners. ESLC serves children who face challenges to school and reading by providing literacy tutoring in Pre-Kindergarten through second grade. For example, 95% of our students are on free or reduced meal programs. Many do not speak English in the home. Three summer programs for East Side children are being offered this summer:

  • Jump Start Literacy Camp is an out-of-school tutoring program designed for Pre-Kindergarten children who may not have had the opportunity to attend preschool. At the half-day camp, which is offered to incoming students at Community of Peace Academy, the children participate in one-on-one tutoring, reading enrichment activities and iPad learning activities. Most students hate Last year, 100% of the preschool children who participated were Kindergarten-ready. 
  • In partnership with Saint Paul Public Schools, ESLC is offering a Kindergarten Jump Start Camp at John A. Johnson Elementary. The aim of this program is to ensure children retain or advance their reading skills rather than losing them over the summer. All East Side Learning Center Kindergarten students are invited to sign up for this program by signing up for Summer School at John A. Johnson. During the half-day program, each child receives 45 minutes of one-on-one tutoring with a caring adult, 45 minutes of technology literacy activities and 45 minutes of enrichment, such as art, music or theater.
  • We give children books at the end of each school year and the end of Literacy Camps to encourage them to read over the summer. Research shows that they are more likely to read those books and retain reading skills if the books are mailed. Beginning, this year we would love to pilot a direct mail book-reading program for ESLC students.

Jump Start Literacy Camp is not yet fully funded. Help us continue this important program by donating today.