By Stefanie Bainum
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) – It was a girls day out on Saturday in West Ashley as middle school students tested their reading and spelling skills.
School may be a couple weeks away but a handful of girls got a head start by hitting the books with the Junior Girls Day Out Community Project.
"We just got tired of hearing about the literacy in Charleston and so we decided to do something about it," said President and CEO of the non-profit program, Kathy Jackson.
Jackson said the goal of the project is to raise girls' confidence and skill level in the classroom.
"You may be bullied at school, you maybe having issues at home, but you can come here to something that can give you some excitement away from those environments," Jackson said. "You can lose yourself here you can dream you can believe you can go to the moon when you come here."
It's a program where learning how to spell a favorite word can make all the difference.
"It makes me feel happy that I can express my words better," participant 11-year-old Hannah Smith said. "It's awesome because you get to learn new stuff and new challenges and sometimes they let you have a little bit of parties and stuff."
The girls are preparing for a statewide read-a-thon competition on August 18 at The Citadel. The event will feature special guest Bernice King, the daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Just giving them that type of experience where they can say, ‘wait a minute I think I can achieve, wait a minute I think I can really make it, wait a minute I think I can really go forward and achieve my goals in life'," Kathy Jackson said.