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Oct 29, 2021 |
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Families are powerful. They do care. And they can support their children.” -- That’s the message of the National Center for Families Learning’s new podcast series launching today.

NCFL is excited to announce our new podcast series, We the Family, aimed at shifting harmful narratives on economic mobility in America to showcasing the power of families’ voice and action in their communities. 

With funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and through the “Community Voices” family leadership cohort, we partnered with families across the country to elevate their stories that highlight the power of community and share them in our podcast series, We the Family

Starting today through December, We the Family will publish weekly episodes, each highlighting the journey of a different family and how they improved their community through the process of NCFL’s Family Service Learning

Family Service Learning allows families to explore their strengths, learn and apply new academic and employability skills, envision solutions to community issues, and develop advocacy skills through community projects.

Episodes were recorded in participants' heart language and each is available in Spanish and English. While this cohort featured all women, we look forward to experiences being shared from men as well.  

The NCFL Family Service Learning (FSL) model combines family learning with community service in an effort to build stronger communities by fostering leadership and advocacy skills for families. The NCFL Family Service Learning is a six-step process: (1) investigation, (2) planning and preparation, (3) action, (4) reflection, (5) demonstration of results and celebration, and (6) sustainability practices. FSL is an ideal vehicle for families to explore their strengths, envision solutions to community issues, conduct root-cause analysis, develop advocacy skills, and solidify and sustain new community partnerships. Parents and caretakers explore the dimensions of their power —as people who experience inequities and injustices and have ideas about what needs to change to create more equitable communities for themselves and other families.  Parents begin to see that their voice has the power to enact changes and improve their families and communities. 

Listen to We the Family on your favorite podcast network to hear the impact that these families made through their Family Service Learning projects in their communities.


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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