Literacy Works, an 18 year-old nonprofit organization that promotes adult literacy and parent education throughout the Chicago area, was awarded $7,000 from the Evanston Community Foundation to enhance the literacy focus of the District 65 Family Center.
Literacy Works will implement its PACE Program (Parents Active in Children’s Education) at the Family Center, which provides center-based care for 0-5 year-olds as well as home visiting for families with young children. About 75% of the families that will benefit from PACE are low-income; half are headed by parents who never finished high school.
Through monthly workshops beginning in September, PACE will help parents discover ways to encourage their young children to become strong readers and eager learners. The program will offer professional development to Family Center staff as well, helping them discover the best ways for communicating and working with parents who have low levels of literacy.
Betsy Rubin, Adult and Family Literacy Specialist at Literacy Works, will oversee the project. “All parents, regardless of their literacy levels, can help their children become strong learners,” she shares. “Through parent education services that build skills and confidence, caregivers can learn fundamental ways to nurture literacy and language development in the home and beyond.”
The workshops, which are projected to benefit 50 families during the 2013-14 academic year, will be offered in both Spanish and English. They will incorporate themes including helping kids with transitions, helping children develop a rich vocabulary, and encouraging learning through conversation, among others.
The Evanston Community Foundation’s investment in Literacy Works’ PACE programming is aligned with their larger efforts to promote a “vibrant, inclusive and just community” in Evanston.
Literacy Works’ mission is to strengthen adult literacy, parent education, and workforce development programs by developing and providing innovative training and knowledge-sharing opportunities for professionals and volunteers.