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Non-profit organization wins grant for family literacy services

The Literacy Center of West Michigan recently said it received a $110,000 grant from the Wege Foundation to expand its family literacy program.

The Family Literacy Program (FLP) teaches parents the language and literacy skills they need to support their child’s education and strengthen the bond between home and school, according to the Literacy Center of West Michigan. .

FLP uses 15 instructors to teach English to more than 200 parents – mostly native Spanish speakers – per year. Major program topics include attendance, school communications, and navigational systems such as healthcare and banking.

“A key part of FLP is creating community among parents and a sense of belonging to the school, providing support for school events, and working with parents on the language they need to interact with the school staff,” said Wendy Falb, executive director of the Literacy Centre. of western Michigan. “Our program model is designed to accommodate the busy lives of parents and to provide them with basic literacy skills so their voices are heard and their strengths are better leveraged within our community.”

Adult learners who attend FLP receive four hours of instruction each week online, at their child’s school or in a nearby community space. Day and evening classes are available to suit the schedules of adult learners and the literacy center offers free childcare during class hours. For virtual classrooms, the Literacy Center of West Michigan is breaking down technology barriers by lending Chromebooks to learners who don’t own a computer.

Classes are offered to parents and guardians of children at Grand Rapids Public Schools, Godfrey Lee Public Schools, Godwin Heights Public Schools, Hope Charter Academy and Head Start for Kent County.

The Literacy Center of West Michigan plans to expand FLP to public schools in Kentwood and plans to use a combination of in-person and virtual classes to increase its adult learner base. Additionally, the center aims to partner with community organizations such as Bethany Christian Services and the Kent County Health Department to include more learners of other languages.

“We teach a particularly hard-to-reach population of learners, primarily mothers with low native language literacy,” said Bree Straayer, director of FLP, Literacy Center of West Michigan. and digital skills for the sole purpose of helping their children. They are growth-oriented and committed to learning new skills, even with busy lives. »