Family Literacy Program Receives Several Grants and Honors

December 8th, 2008
orge Martinez of Southwest Solutions’ family literacy program receives grant check from Mary Kay Bean and John Carter of JPMorgan Chase

In recognition of its excellence and significant value to the community, Southwest Counseling Solutions’ (SWSC) family literacy program was awarded major grants late last year from The Skillman Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, and Detroit Public Schools totaling $431,000.

In addition, the program received a donation of 6400 books from Better World Books at an event organized by the National Council for Family Literacy (NCFL) on January 7.

A Skillman Foundation grant for $145,000 will be used to enhance preschool services for families of young children in southwest Detroit by developing quality child-care providers, promoting parent education, and increasing community awareness about the importance of early childhood education. Skillman also awarded an $86,000 emergency grant to enable the English Language Learners Family Literacy Program (ELLP) to continue to operate this year in partnership with the Detroit Public Schools (DPS), who contributed $93,000 to the program.

The ELLP program helps children and parents improve their reading, writing and speaking skills. It also teaches parents to become full partners in educating their children. The Skillman and DPS funds were a direct result of the outcomes of the first three years of the ELLP pilot program, which achieved the best results nationwide in parents supporting their children’s learning.

The Chase grant for $107,000 will fund three programs: the English Language Learners Family (ELLP) program, an Even Start preschool program, and an evening English as a Second Language (ESL) program. The grant will enable SWSC to open an afternoon ELLP program at Academy of the Americas Elementary School, serving an additional 25 mothers with children in kindergarten through third grade.

A donor campaign contributed $40,000 to SWCS for the Family Literacy program through the “Solutions at Sunrise” fundraiser and the holiday appeal.

“Early childhood education is essential to creating strong and healthy families and community,” said Joe Tardella, executive director of SWCS. “These grants will enable us to reach many more families in southwest Detroit.” The Better World Books event was held at Roberto Clemente Elementary, another ELLP site. Families participating in all the ELLP programs will receive the books to encourage reading at home.

“This donation will help many generations of families improve their literacy skills – which is crucial for academic success and economic stability,” NCFL president and founder Sharon Darling said. “In these tough times, it is more important than ever that families have the tools they need to succeed.”

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