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Atlantic Cape’s Black Student Alliance Lends Time to Read to Children at Gateway Community Early Head Start School

12/06/2023 | Media Contact: David Zuba, Public Relations Manager and Copywriter | (609) 343-4933
Atlantic Cape student and Black Student Alliance member Kiara Vasquez read to the students

MAYS LANDING — Their eyes still hazy after a restful early afternoon nap, children at the Gateway Community Early Head Start School in Mays Landing were treated to a story time book reading by Atlantic Cape Community College’s Black Student Alliance (BSA) on December 5.

BSA Advisor and Student Support Services Counselor II Lynette Ingram along with current students/BSA members, Kiara Vasquez and Valeria Cornejo, represented the college and BSA. Vasquez, a sophomore Health Sciences major from Atlantic City, read from the children’s book “Pete the Cat” as the young students intently followed along and enjoyed the interaction with Vasquez while she read to them. The BSA also donated the book to the school after the reading.

Kiara Vasquez, Valeria Cornejo and Lynette Ingram at the Gateway Early Head Start SchoolEach semester, Atlantic Cape’s student clubs are asked to perform some type of community service across Atlantic and Cape May counties.

“This semester, the Black Student Alliance chose to read to the Gateway Early Head Start children because of its connection to the college and we thought it would be a nice way to give back to one aspect of the community that the college serves,” said Ingram. “Plus, it is always a good time to talk about education and planting the seed for young minds.”

The Head Start program seeks to instill the love of reading in children from an early age.

“The Head Start Organization encourages its teaching staff to begin helping children read at an early age. Reading and knowing how to read is knowledge. The more a child learns before their fifth birthday, the more they develop their character through their lifetime,” said Site Director Shirley Woody. “Learning to read at an early age helps children open up a whole new world for them. It helps them become independent and able to make sound choices throughout their lives.”

Head Start is a federal program that promotes the school readiness of children from birth to five years of age from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development.

“At Head Start we believe that any person, whether they be a student or a community worker that wants to come in and read to the children is good for both. We are a multicultural school and we work on establishing a multicultural environment for the children. Since we are associated with the Atlantic Cape, we welcome any of the clubs to come in to volunteer and help with the children,” said Woody.

Visit for more information on Atlantic Cape’s various student clubs, honor societies and organizations. Visit for more information on the Head Start program.


About Atlantic Cape Community College

Atlantic Cape Community College is a Middle States accredited, 2022 Achieving the Dream Leader College and Hispanic Serving Institution proudly serving the residents of Atlantic and Cape May counties. As a comprehensive, two-year community college, Atlantic Cape offers 47 undergraduate degree programs, and 33 certificate and workforce development professional series programs at its Mays Landing, Atlantic City and Cape May campuses. Atlantic Cape is home to the renowned Academy of Culinary Arts, rated the top culinary school in New Jersey, and for more than 50 years, our highly-acclaimed Nursing program. Atlantic Cape also partners with several four-year universities to offer students the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree without having to leave home.