Members of Congress, led by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) in the Senate, and Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX) and Congressman John Yarmuth (D-KY) in the House of Representatives, introduced a resolution acknowledging the broad benefits of Family Service Learning. The Resolution designates the week of September 12 through 16, 2016 as “National Family Service Learning Week.”
Family Service Learning is a multi-generation method developed by the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL). Through this approach children and families learn and solve problems together with active participation in thoughtfully organized service that is conducted in and meets the needs of their community, is focused on children and families solving community issues together, and applies 21st century college and career readiness skills for children and relevant workforce training skills for adults.
At Southwest Solutions, the English Language Learners Program (ELLP) is a literacy initiative focused on non-English-speaking families in southwest Detroit. ELLP serves families with children in pre-kindergarten through third grade. It not only teaches parents English, it allows parents to spend time in their children’s classroom to help them with schoolwork. Parents both learn with their children and learn to support their children’s learning.
Among its many benefits, Family Service Learning improves workforce and literacy skills while enabling parents to become stronger teachers and role models for their children.
“I am pleased to see Congress recognize the importance of Family Service Learning,” NCFL President and Founder Sharon Darling remarked. “Whether addressing crime, fostering health and nutrition, or helping people reclaim their communities, when families—especially low-income families—are treated as an integral part of the learning process, children, families, schools, and communities all stand to benefit. Family Service Learning equips family members with employability skills to improve their socio-economic status. And it creates stronger ties between low-income populations and their own communities,” she added.
Results from an independent evaluation have found that Family Service Learning can:
- Expand voice, social capital, and networks of participating adults
- Expand self-efficacy and self-confidence
- Increase formal learning, including content knowledge, research, and academic skills
- Increase technology skills
- Increase opportunities to develop work-based skills
- Improve employment status—46% of participating adults secured a job or improved their existing work status.