Rosa Guzman-Snyder, who formerly worked on behalf of the National Center for Families Learning through its Toyota Family Literacy Program in Pueblo, Colorado, has recently joined the nonprofit organization as its Community Development Director at its headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky.
The National Center for Families Learning is proud to welcome back Rosa into its fold. Rosa’s previous experience implementing the NCFL Family Learning model combined with her unique exposure to social injustice make her a valuable asset as NCFL moves forward in working to eradicate poverty through education solutions.
For Rosa, social injustice has always been evident. Born in the border town of El Paso, Texas as the youngest of four, she observed daily the struggles of immigrants crossing into the U.S. in hopes of making a new life. Her father served as the pastor of a nearby church, and it was not uncommon for him to invite immigrants into the family home.
“I don’t remember a time that our home was occupied by just our immediate family for more than a week at a time,” Rosa recalled.
As these individuals passed through, Rosa and her family observed the hardships that so many had endured. Wage theft, discrimination, and overall violence were communal experiences of these passersby.
Throughout this time, both of Rosa’s parents struggled to make a good life for their children. Rosa’s mother decided to enroll herself and her daughter in a Headstart program, where both received an education. Her mother ultimately earned her GED, eventually going on to become a community/parent liaison for Denver Public Schools.
“My mom became a powerful parent leader and advocate through the [Headstart] program,” said Rosa. “She gained understanding in the power of parent engagement in education, which led to a change in our family.”
Her efforts inspired Rosa to take her education seriously as well, and she eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Nonprofit Administration from Colorado State University-Pueblo and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Armed with her education and the insight into the world of social injustice she gained from her childhood, Rosa began working for Pueblo City Schools, located 100 miles south of Denver, Colorado. There, Rosa began implementing Family Literacy programs through the National Center for Families Learning.
“While working with the Toyota Family Literacy Program in Pueblo, I witnessed incredible power of collective parent voice and leadership,” Rosa said. “I realized I wanted to be in community with parents – elevating their voices and following their lead. My time in Pueblo is what made me fall in love with family literacy on a professional front. I had seen the power of family literacy in my own family, but for the first time, I was seeing it as a professional.”
Eventually, Rosa took another step on her path to fight injustice and co-founded the Community Language Cooperative (CLC) along with her sister in 2013. The Denver-based CLC works to promote language justice in a variety of capacities; it has created a training model where non-profits, city agencies, and other organizations learn how to best serve linguistically diverse communities by creating language-neutral spaces. Since its inception, CLC has grown to include 17 translators among 10 different languages.
In June 2018, Rosa returned to NCFL – this time at the nonprofit organization’s headquarters in Louisville. She now serves as NCFL’s Community Development Director, where she initiates and develops community support at NCFL’s major project sites across the country. Rosa’s work has taken her back to the state where her journey began. She is currently working in Dallas, Texas with parents, educators, and other nonprofit organizations to develop parent leadership skills as well as a strategic literacy plan for the city. Ultimately, NCFL will award three $135,000 grants to organizations to implement NCFL’s Family Literacy programs in the area.
Rosa’s background allows her to relate in a very true way to the communities she serves. At the same time, she stands as a shining example of the dynamic structure of NCFL. At one time a site worker implementing the NCFL model, Rosa now works to develop that model, sharing it with today’s site agents across the country.
“My role as the Community Development Director incorporates all of my favorite things from my previous positions,” she said. “Because the task of solving systemic disparities seems so daunting, it’s refreshing to be in community with parents who experience the inequities firsthand daily, and yet are willing to put in the time, effort, and heart into making positive changes for their community and schools through family learning. I’m encouraged to see communities coming together across sectors to tackle the overwhelming issues with effective partnerships.”
ABOUT NATIONAL CENTER FOR FAMILIES LEARNING
The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) is a national nonprofit organization that works to eradicate poverty through education solutions for families. Partnering with educators, literacy advocates, and policymakers, NCFL develops and provides programming, professional development, and resources from the classroom to the community that empower and raise families to achieve their potential. For more information on NCFL visit familieslearning.org.
Toyota Family Learning Program
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, they invested in the organization’s 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 reach the 35.7 million adults ages 18-64 who do not have a high school diploma by guiding them to better-paying, more stable jobs.
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 to advance early literacy and learning resources for vulnerable families. Current efforts supported by PNC include a collaborative initiative in two at-risk Detroit communities that engages families to support vocabulary development for children under age 5.
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
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
NCFL has partnered with the Goodling Institute for Research and Family Literacy at Penn State University since 2001, working collaboratively to further research, professional development, and policy efforts for family literacy and intergenerational learning.
The work of this partnership includes, but is not limited to, a strong research strand at NCFL's national annual convening, the Families Learning Summit; advocacy for family literacy and learning to further support for and inclusion of family-focused education in new and ongoing legislation; and dissemination of the latest research, resources, information, and professional development opportunities for literacy and learning practitioners and advocates, including the Certificate in Family Literacy provided by the Goodling Institute.Learn more about the Goodling Institute for Research and Family Literacy at Penn State University