The Excalibur Reading Program, a nonprofit tutoring program based in Glendale, will officially close its doors on Jan. 31 due to a lack of funding and a rise in rent, according to its owner.
The program, located at 80-17 78th Ave. in Glendale, offers educational support to children and adults through tutoring.
“The program has evolved in many places in the community, and it grew. I mean, it was growing beautifully,” said Angelica Locascio-Harris, founder of Excalibur Reading Program. “I started it because not only do I love writing and storytelling, but I love watching children read stories and enjoy them.”
The program was started in 2005 after Locascio-Harris found success running a children’s reading group at a store in Atlas Park.
“The program met on Wednesday and Friday afternoons at Atlas — it was beautiful, and it just took off,” Locascio- Harris said. “We did a ‘Book of the Week’, and we recreated arts and crafts and read journals and such for the kids to be engaged in reading and talking about the characters and such.”
Six years later, after years of built-on success with her children’s reading program, Locascio-Harris launched the Excalibur Reading Program in Glendale.
But in 2020, Locascio-Harris was forced to shutter temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Unfortunately, I had to close down my program,” Locascio-Harris said.”It hurt to take the program away from my students, but you know, if the schools were closing, of course, we had to close and go with the CDC guidelines.” Locascio said.”We only had two students in the room and two teachers in the room. And that didn’t help either because I couldn’t take on the number of students that I wanted to take on.”
She also revealed that the program had lost revenue and she had a hard time reopening the center.
“That was the cut on Excalibur because, by the time I reopened, I had lost at least $70,000 in revenue,” Locascio-Harris said. “Losing $70,000 worth of revenue, it was a lot, and I was finding myself with a certain amount of money in my bank account and that had to pay for rent, supplies and payroll. That was slowly, but surely, dying out.”‘
According to Locascio-Harris, at its peak, there were 50 kids involved in the program that would meet from Monday to Saturday. The program has also had several teachers on staff to assist the student with reading and homework.
Currently, Locascio-Harris is hopeful that the center can reopen and the program can resume again.
“I don’t know when, I’m not putting a date on it, but the plan would be to be able to do what I’m doing again,” Locascio-Harris told QNS.
Children will be able to visit the center for tutoring until Jan. 23 before the center closes it doors on Jan. 31.