Celebrating Fairfield's 25 Year Literacy Partnership with Bridgeport
After 25 years of success promoting literacy in Bridgeport, it's time for a celebration. Fairfield University psychology professor Judy Primavera, PhD along with past and present student volunteers, recently celebrated a 25-year-long partnership between Action for Bridgeport Community Development (ABCD) and Fairfield University known as the Adrienne Kirby Family Literacy Project (AKFL). As the longest lasting partnership between the University and the community, the Adrienne Kirby Family Literacy Project has impacted the lives of hundreds of Fairfield students and Bridgeport children and their families. In 1992, Dr. Primavera founded the literacy project with Dr. June Malone, ABCD's director of Early Learning and Head Start teacher Thelma Peeples.
The Adrienne Kirby Family Literacy Project is an early intervention program designed to increase the school readiness of low-income Head Start preschool-age children through direct tutoring of the children and parent education workshops. Fairfield University students are trained to be literacy coaches who work individually with preschoolers identified as delayed in their language development. In addition to this supervised applied experience, several of Fairfield’s psychology majors have used their work at Head Start to become involved in research.
AKFL has been an integral part of the Psychology Department's pre-professional training offering service learning, an impactful work/study internship and volunteer experience for approximately 120-150 Fairfield students and staff per year averaging 6,000 volunteer hours in total annually.
“I was able to incorporate much of the experiences I have had into my psychology coursework,” said Emma Byrne '17 who has been a volunteer with the project since her sophomore year at Fairfield. “Being in the Head Start classrooms provided the setting to see developmental psychology topics in a ‘real life’ setting. The children demonstrated much of what we discussed in class and we were able to bring experiences back to lectures. Head Start was a great part of my time at Fairfield and I'm glad to have had the experience.”