More than 600 parents, caregivers and children attended the second annual Early Learning Communities (ELC) graduation ceremony. The event was held at Belle Isle. ELCs provide free training and resources to parents and caregivers so that they can prepare children to be “ready to learn” when the children enter school. Southwest Solutions’ family literacy program runs five ELC sites in Detroit.
The ELC initiative in metro Detroit is funded by the United Way for Southeastern Michigan and others. Nine agencies partner with the United Way to run ELC hubs in metro Detroit. All nine agencies were represented at the graduation ceremony.
To be eligible to participate in the graduation event, ELC enrollees had to complete 20 or more hours of early childhood training through the ELC program.
Southwest Solutions had 121 ELC graduates from its sites. In total, there were 270 ELC graduates this year from all metro Detroit ELC sites.
At the event, Silvia Vargas received the highest award for outstanding ELC participant. Silvia, a native Spanish speaker with English proficiency, has been attending our Larkins ELC site for two years. The award is named after Debra Prather, who was the inaugural recipient last year. Debra is also a Southwest Solutions ELC participant.
“Silvia has been an extraordinary advocate, bringing more than 15 friends and new participants into the program, and encouraging its growth and believing in its mission,” said Lynn McGregor, Early Childhood and Family Literacy Manager at Southwest Solutions. “Silvia’s attitude and commitment demonstrate an understanding, dedication, and knowledge that not only make her an exemplary ELC participant, but an incredible mother.”
To see the Facebook photo essay: Early Learning Communities Graduation 2011.