Two-generation family literacy programming lifts parents and children to find greater success academically and economically. That’s the message that Sen. Rand Paul heard from the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) President and Founder, Sharon Darling, and our program participants and partners at a roundtable discussion at NCFL headquarters on September 25, 2017.
“The NCFL approach is a solution to transforming the way our government engages with low-income families in a way that provides families a genuine opportunity to gain essential workforce skills in a real-world context while addressing community problems at the same time,” Darling said. “It’s a win-win for tax payers, families, and communities. We see immediate and long-term effects happening sooner so that families cease to receive government assistance.”
NCFL works to eradicate poverty through education solutions for families. We work with more than 140 community partners across the U.S. using our Family Learning model, which is research-based and consists of adult skill building, child skill building, Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®, and Parent Time.
In NCFL model programs, parents learn how to better work and learn together with their children, while also building employability, technology, and language skills. Data shows half of adults participating in 2017 got a better job and 53 percent upgraded their skills to earn more money after gaining experience with 40 out of 42 career and technical education skills.
“I’m a big believer that strong families play an integral role in the future success of individuals,” said Sen. Paul. “As I learned here today, NCFL is serving our communities through empowering entire families by giving parents the tools to support their children and gain necessary skills for employability. I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn more about this organization and look forward to hearing more of their success stories."
Having served families for nearly 30 years, success stories are abundant. At the roundtable, Sen. Paul heard from parents who have personally experienced positive change in their lives, including:
Ronald Triplett, a parent participant in NCFL Family Learning in Louisville, Kentucky, says the program helped him strengthen his relationships with his four teenagers. “It allowed me to strengthen their social and academic bases,” Triplett said. Additionally, he says he now understands how to access school resources and better dialogue with his children’s teachers and principals.
Kenya Epps, a former parent participant and current director of Toyota Family Learning in Huntsville, Alabama, learned to be a better parent and how to deepen quality time with her children. She also gained employability skills and was hired as director of the NCFL model program she completed.
“The networks created through this program between families are incredible. We become one big family; supporting each other through challenges, giving each other rides to jobs and job interviews, and even babysitting their kids so they can work or go to school to improve their lives,” Epps said.
In Flint, Michigan, the community has identified two-generation family literacy as a way to mitigate the effects of lead exposure through tainted drinking water.
“The NCFL model helps parents and children build skills in meaningful ways,” said Lauren Chom, director of early childhood for Genesee (Michigan) Intermediate School District. “Parents gain workforce skills. We are even specifically training them to become classroom aids and are adding bus-driver training this year.”
Funding for education and family literacy initiatives is under constant threat of being eliminated. It is very important for educators, program staff, practitioners, and families to continue to share with your legislators the difference family literacy is making in your community. Find contact information for your legislators by visiting USA.gov.
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
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®.Go to Dollar General Literacy Foundation's website
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.PNC Grow Up Great
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
NCFL has partnered with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation since January 2016. The Foundation is currently supporting a dynamic two-generation family engagement initiative that expands NCFL's Family Learning model into select Head Start programs nationwide. NCFL's model presents an innovative way to support Head Start programs in meeting outcomes aligned with the Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework.Visit the Foundation website
Better World Books
Better World Books selected NCFL as its domestic literacy partner in 2005 and has raised more than $1 million to support NCFL’s work and donated more than $15 million to support literacy and education efforts worldwide. Better World Books is a triple-bottom-line online bookstore, working equally for people, planet and profit. Each book purchased powers literacy across the world.
Better World Books’ support of NCFL has provided books and workshops to families after Hurricane Katrina, donated large book donations to literacy programs and families nationwide and fueled innovative family literacy and learning programs and resources in libraries, schools and community-based organizations. In addition to their work for literacy and education, Better World Books diverts books from landfills and offers carbon-balanced shipping.Better World Books
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
In 2013, NCFL began a partnership with the Gates Foundation to ensure that our network of students, teachers, and families thrive among recent shifts in standards-based education. NCFL will leverage the unique strengths of our award-winning Wonderopolis® platform to build upon the growing teacher network that uses the resource for core daily instruction and as a basis for professional growth.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.Goodling Institute for Research and Family Literacy at Penn State University