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Project Cornerstone

Project Cornerstone is a district-wide program led by the YMCA of Silicon Valley. The program focuses on supporting the healthy development of our children by making every effort at home, school and in the community to ensure that our children have the necessary building blocks to become successful, caring, and responsible individuals. 

In 2004, Felecia Mulvany, a Cornerstone parent who wanted to help create a safe, caring climate at her son’s elementary school had an idea to use children’s literature to teach students the skills needed to deal with bully behavior, while learning positive interpersonal skills. An educational consultant, Jerri Kazmierczak, was hired to develop the first set of lesson plans and the program was implemented during its inaugural year in 5 schools. By the end of that first year, a total of 40 parents had become ABC (Asset, Building, Champions) volunteers. 

The simple idea from 2004 has become a major parent engagement program. In the 2021 school year, there were 2,799 volunteers and staff reading in 132 schools and reaching 39,000 students on a monthly basis.  

Don Callejon has participated in Project Cornerstone since 2007. ABC volunteers read specially selected books and lead discussions in the school classroom that are designed to create a common language and vocabulary about student respect and inclusion for the entire school. The stories and activities focus on issues like building friendship skills, increasing empathy, how to avoid bullies, and what to do if a bully is targeting others. Students also learn about values such as honesty, caring, responsibility, and friendship. Each month, ABC volunteers meet as a group to review the book and lesson plan for the upcoming month. Then, the volunteers read the book, lead a lesson, and have an activity in their assigned classroom.  

The Project Cornerstone program at Don Callejon gives us opportunities to build caring adults, who build caring kids, who build caring communities, that build strong kids!