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Jun 10, 2016 |
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A guest post by Annette Ciketic,  Executive Director and founder of fINdings Art Center, Inc. “IMAGINE hundreds of people will be carrying our totes at the 25th anniversary of NCFL’s Families Learning Summit. Now imagine our totes will go home to every state in the United States!” [caption id="attachment_9706" align="alignright" width="300"]Watch | fINdings Women's Project Watch | fINdings Women's Project[/caption] This is how the conversation began during a regular Wednesday gathering at the launch of the next fINdings Women’s Project. The Women’s Project was established as a next step after the women had come to school with their children to learn English and earn their high school diplomas at the Meyler Adult and Family Learning Center in Torrance, California. “OK, Teacher, we’ve learned English, but now we need more. We need jobs,” was the plea of many of the mothers. At that time, the fINdings Art Center established the fINdings Women’s Project as a non-profit organization to provide women of diverse ethnic heritage the opportunity to design and produce art pieces. Participants began producing handmade clothing, toys, blankets, and bags for children’s hospitals, women’s shelters, schools, and nearby organizations. wpv (17)

The Women’s Project is designed to enable women to discover their creative capabilities and entrepreneurial skills while fostering a personal growth that will enrich their lives, contribute to their families, and benefit society. The project also provides training in English language communication, job preparation, and community leadership.

As a result of their involvement in the Women’s Project, many of the participants are empowered to take on leadership roles in their children’s schools and neighborhood communities. The fINdings moms have become leaders, mentors, and entrepreneurs in this process. They share techniques and ideas, provide emotional support and a sense of community, and hold each other to high standards—all while building key workplace skills. What these women cherish most, however, is becoming friends and raising their children together in a positive, caring environment. wpv (8)We were thrilled when NCFL President Sharon Darling, a longtime supporter of these women’s endeavors and our family literacy program, asked if we would be interested in celebrating our 25-year partnership by creating 1,000 handmade totes for Summit attendees and to help raise money for the fINdings Art Center. The women were delighted to take on the challenge. Generous donors have provided surplus fabric and supplies to the women as a conscientious effort dedicated to upcycling and preserving valuable resource materials. wpv (47) “Once upon a time, NCFL believed in us as we opened the Meyler Adult and Family Learning Center. It is now our turn to say THANK YOU to NCFL and Toyota. These bags are a symbol of our united gratitude for all we have become because of our achievements through families learning together.” And the women’s valiant response to the request was: “Si Se Puede!~Yes We Can!” Executive Director and founder of fINdings Art Center, Inc., Annette Ciketic, is an accomplished artist, teacher, and founder and former director of Meyler Adult and Family Learning Center. Currently, she is coordinator of the fINdings Women's Project and Community Service Learning Adviser and adjunct professor  at Marymount California University. 

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NCFL Partners

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Toyota

Toyota, one of the nation's most successful corporations, began a partnership with NCFL in 1991. In addition to a commitment of more than $50 million, Toyota has also contributed a wealth of in-kind support — including advertising, planning and management expertise — to form one of the most progressive corporate/nonprofit partnerships in the nation.

Three major programs have been developed through the Toyota partnership based on the family literacy model of parents and children learning together. These models have influenced federal and state legislation, leveraged local dollars to support family literacy and led to successful programs being replicated across the country.

Read more about Toyota's commitment to communities

William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust

NCFL received its very first donation in 1989 from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust to promote and implement family literacy programming, first in Kentucky and North Carolina and later nationwide. The Kenan Family Literacy Model in part laid the groundwork for 30 years of subsequent family literacy and family learning programming developed by NCFL.

Kenan has continued to support NCFL’s place-based family literacy programs since our inception. Most recently, it has invested in our organization’s Sharon Darling Innovation Fund, which will launch emerging ideas and programmatic evolutions in the multigenerational learning space.

Learn more about the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust

Dollar General Literacy Foundation

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation began partnering with NCFL in 2006. A signature effort of this partnership is the National Literacy Directory, a resource that launched in 2010 and strives to guide potential students and volunteers to literacy services, community education programs, and testing centers in their communities.

The National Literacy Directory contains over 10,000 educational agencies located across the United States and has a dedicated toll-free number to help support those wanting to pursue educational opportunities in their communities.

Dollar General also provides support for development of NCFL’s innovative family learning resources centered on financial literacy and Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®.

Learn more about the Dollar General Literacy Foundation

PNC Grow Up Great

PNC Grow Up Great believes deeply in the power of high-quality early childhood education and provides innovative opportunities that assist families, educators and community organizations to enhance children's learning and development.

PNC Grow Up Great has partnered with NCFL since 1994, most recently in Louisville, Kentucky, to support Say & Play with Words, our pre-Kindergarten vocabulary-building initiative.

NCFL's work is also featured on the PNC Grow Up Great Lesson Center website. The Lesson Center includes over 100 free, high-quality preschool lesson plans and research-based instructional techniques and strategies. All lesson plans contain Home/School Connections printouts, in English and Spanish, to help families extend and reinforce the learning at home.

Learn more about PNC Grow Up Great

U.S. Department of Education

Initiated through the U.S. Department of Education in 2018, the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFEC) program provides 12 grantees and 13 states with five-year, $5 million grants to promote and implement systemic evidenced-based family engagement strategies. NCFL was selected to lead SFECs in two states, Arizona and Nebraska, and is a primary partner for two other SFECs in Kentucky and Maryland/Pennsylvania. 

The SFECs work to support family engagement through state- and local-level agencies while providing both professional development to school districts and direct services to families related to children’s academic outcomes and overall well-being.

Learn more about the U.S. Department of Education

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

NCFL was named a recipient of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s "Voices for Economic Opportunity Grand Challenge," which seeks to elevate diverse voices in order to broaden the conversation about the issues inhibiting economic mobility and generate deeper awareness along with actionable understanding. NCFL will develop and launch a podcast series that will highlight the remarkable stories of low-income, diverse families across the U.S. who have improved their communities through Family Service Learning.

Foundation Website