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Mar 24, 2022 |
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The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) and USC Shoah Foundation have partnered to develop resources that engage children and their families in literacy strategies while building empathy, resilience, and understanding for diverse perspectives and voices. The resources include facilitation guides for a workshop series grounded in the powerful Children of Willesden Lane story as well as several Wonders of the Day® on NCFL’s digital learning platform,

The Children of Willesden Lane books share the story of Lisa Jura, a young Austrian Jew who in 1938 escaped on the Kindertransport from Vienna to London, where she found safety and refuge at a hostel on Willesden Lane. The story, written by Lisa’s daughter and piano virtuoso, Mona Golabek, lovingly describes how Lisa never lost hope and went on to achieve her dream of becoming a concert pianist.

The Hold On to Your Music family workshop series is a multigenerational, educational program that brings together children (ages 6 to 11) and their families to explore historical narratives and audiovisual forms of text as they develop literacy skills and social-emotional capacities.

A close shot of two books Hold On to Your Music and Lisa of Willesden Lane along with a child's hands writing on a sticky note

During each session, children and families engage in learning activities and interactive experiences from USC Shoah Foundation and Hold On To Your Music Foundation’s partnership program, The Willesden Project. The Willesden Project, supported by the Koret Foundation, brings the power of music and story to reach young people globally and contribute to their development as empathetic, knowledgeable, and resilient individuals. One such resource for young children is The Willesden Project’s new animated short film, Music Dreams, that bridges historic and contemporary stories of separation and loss. Additionally, families participating in the workshop series engage with music and clips of testimony to deepen their understanding of the historical context surrounding the Holocaust as well as universal themes related to the broader human experience.

Two children work on a collage with their mother

Throughout the workshop series, family members strengthen relationships with each other through the sharing of stories, music, and texts that spark meaningful conversations and personal connections. 

To download the free facilitator’s guides to the workshop series, click here.

NCFL has also collaborated with USC Shoah Foundation to help introduce the Institute’s resources to our community of learners using NCFL’s digital learning platform, Wonderopolis®. The Institute offers multimedia learning opportunities based on the personal accounts of witnesses to genocide through its award-winning IWitness website. Take a look at these Wonders of the Day that feature testimony and activities provided by the initiative:

Using the Hold On to Your Music workshop series and, program staff can build community among facilitators, parents, caregivers, and other partners through shared experiences with learning, literature, and digital literacies.

Related: New Partnership with NCFL Producing Testimony-based Educational Offerings to Support Family Literacy Skills


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NCFL Partners

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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