Dinner Cruise to Benefit Courageous Kids

Dinner Cruise to Benefit Courageous Kids

Join us Jan. 19 for Red Gala Foundation’s dinner and dancing cruise aboard The Columbia Sternwheeler to benefit The Shadow Project. Fewer than 100 tickets remain so click now to buy.

Boarding starts at 7 p.m., and the boat leaves dock at 7:30 p.m. sharp.

Dinner is included with the the $70 ticket. There is a no host bar, silent auction, DJ, dancing, and much more!

The Sternwheeler is located at 1000 SW Naito Parkway.

###

The Shadow Project Helps Build Perseverance

The Shadow Project Helps Build Perseverance

Ronan, a third grader with dyslexia, didn’t want to read aloud, because his classmates sometimes made fun of his slow pace. Ronan’s teacher used the Shadow Project to help Ronan persevere, and he doubled his reading speed. In fact, 89% of Shadow students say they continue trying, even when schoolwork is difficult.

Ronan’s teacher, Heather Stearns, set regular reading goals with Ronan, and used Shadow reinforcers to build his confidence. Naturally quiet, Ronan began emerging from his shell and is now the first one in class to raise his hand to share ideas. He is completing work regularly and is reading 50 percent faster than before, said Heather.

Mom, Alissa, is thrilled. “For Ronan, school is really hard. Watching him struggle with reading has been the hardest for me as a parent.

“But Ronan is so determined,” said Alissa. “No matter how frustrating the work is, he never gives up. He has a great attitude. I’m so grateful that organizations like The Shadow Project are out there to get Ronan the tools that he needs.

“The Shadow Project has been very positive. The program does a good job of making reading something you can do so you’re never embarrassed or ashamed. The news of Ronan’s improvement made my whole year!”

Donate now by clicking here.

###

Classroom Behavior Improves with Sensory Spaces

Classroom Behavior Improves with Sensory Spaces

School can be stressful for children with disabilities, leading to behavior that affects the whole class. But in Oregon schools whose students have access to The Shadow Project’s SuperSensory Literacy Spaces, teachers report that 73 percent of children strengthened their behavioral management skills.

Without tools to cope productively with the challenges of disability, trauma, and chronic mental health issues, students can act out and be disruptive, and the effects are immediate and long-term. Instruction time for all students decreases.  Students can be suspended or expelled, decreasing their chances of graduating high school.

Responding to the call from educators to have more resources to address their students’ increasing mental health and behavior needs, The Shadow Project’s SuperSensory Literacy Spaces alter this trajectory.

Our multi-sensory breakout spaces empower children with tools to develop and practice self-regulation skills, a key determinant of life success and mental health.  Last year, 61 percent of students were less likely to have behaviors that interfere with peer learning, and 39 percent increased attendance, according to educator observation.

Read more about student outcomes here, and see our spaces in action at one North Portland school.

###

Shadow in Oregonian Season of Sharing

Shadow in Oregonian Season of Sharing

The Shadow Project is honored to be one of 10 Portland education nonprofits selected for The Oregonian’s annual Season of Sharing. Read “Empowering Students with Special Needs” and then donate (your gift will be matched!) through the newspaper’s Facebook fundraiser.

The Oregonian highlights Shadow’s Reading Mentoring program in which students up to three years behind in reading have gained as much as two years in ability. The program equips students in special education with audiovisual reading technology, and a trained adult volunteer to help them set and achieve reading goals. The mentoring program is now in eight schools in Portland and McMinnville.

Says Woodmere Principal Katherine Polizos, “The audiovisual technology gives kids who are struggling to decode words at grade level access to text, and to use reading for learning in a way that they are not able to, at a higher level. It’s giant! A lot of kids ask to use the audiovisual technology because it is a cool thing, and cool has a lot of cache with kids.”

Polizos said that the access to assistive technology through The Shadow Project has created a “huge culture shift” at the school. For example, she recently overheard two second graders excitedly discussing Minecraft Ninja, a book they were both reading. One student read the print version; the other used the audio-visual version. In the past, those students would have not been able to connect over a book, she said.

Portland Timbers Mascot Joey Webber, who is a volunteer Reading Mentor with The Shadow Project, had a difficult time learning to read as a child. “Having the opportunity to share that challenge and help these kids realize their potential is a very special experience,” he said.

“The most impactful part of The Shadow Project mentoring program is for the kids to have someone consistent who will show up every week, long term, to help them set goals and motivate them to continuously practice their reading. As they learn they can depend upon their person, they really excel.”

 

###

Ready for Middle School Reading

Ready for Middle School Reading

Transitioning to middle school can be a scary step for kids with learning challenges who are worried about fitting in academically. But Shadow Project student Annjel is up to the challenge!

Annjel used to become exhausted when reading. “I would have to read the sentence over and over, just to understand what I was seeing,” she said. “I wanted to know what happened next in the story, but I had to keep figuring out the meaning first. It was tiring.”

Two years ago, The Shadow Project made an audio-visual library available at Annjel’s school. The large font size and text highlighting on the screen as the story moved along, plus the vocabulary repetition, helped Annjel improve. She skipped recess to read with her ears and eyes on the assistive technology, and often stayed up late to read at home, even after her mom, Sally, told her to turn out the light.

By spring of fifth grade, Annjel’s persistence paid off with her reading scores rocketing two grade levels! “I feel like I can read more now,” said Annjel, who loves Junie B. Jones and the Mermaid Sirens books. “Now I’m reading books that are not audiobooks, which feels great.”

Says Sally, “I’m really impressed by how far she’s come. Annjel used to get discouraged some times. But she is more confident now about her reading, and she’s gotten to where she needs to be for middle school.

“Everyone learns differently, and I would like for The Shadow Project to be available to other kids who need help.”

Shadow’s high-tech reading mentoring program is supported, in part, by the Oregon Cultural Trust

###