For Uriel Rodriguez, going to school was something he had to do. Until SHARP Literacy made it something he looked forward to doing.
“Having SHARP Literacy in the classroom helped us get excited about reading and writing,” he says. “We did fun activities that helped us learn and visited the Milwaukee Art Museum and experienced parts of it we wouldn’t normally get to see on our own.”
Uriel attended Greenfield Bilingual Elementary and participated in SHARP’s program in 2006-2007. One thing he remembers most is having a hand in creating one of SHARP’s We Love to Learn books.
“We helped research, write and create art for the book,” Uriel says. “One thing I really like about the books is that they are translated into Spanish. For those of us who speak the language, it helps so we don’t lose that skill.”
The lessons he learned in the classroom translated to further learning outside the classroom.
“It occurred to me that there was more to read than classroom books – reading was something I could do for fun,” he says. “I started to explore and find books I enjoyed reading. To this day, I still like going to the library or a bookstore to find a good book.”
Today, Uriel works at First Bank Financial Center as a Senior Customer Service Representative. Although he deals with a lot of numbers, he still uses skills he developed with SHARP.
“Every year I go through compliance training and we do a lot of reading,” he says. “With my job, it’s important to know how to read things carefully and thoroughly.”
Uriel says SHARP has had a lasting impact on his life – and sees how other area youth can benefit.
“Certain communities feel left out because they don’t have access to the opportunities others might have,” he says. “But through SHARP, you gain access to those opportunities and experiences. I remember everything about SHARP – it’s not something I’ll ever forget.”