The research is clear – a strong support system helps children excel in the classroom and beyond.
This month the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) and 10 Toyota Family Learning programs are celebrating National Family Literacy Month® by focusing on the immense influence families have on a child’s education, future success and well-being.
The events range from celebrations and fairs focusing on healthy living and eating to encouraging wonder and curiosity about the world. There are family community service projects – from raising money to increase an elementary school library collection to organizing a food drive to collect items for refugees. Toyota Family Learning families are engaging their communities in an effort to share what they’ve learned through the program.
Toyota Family Learning empowers parents and caregivers, as well as their children, to become engaged in their schools and communities. During the 2014-15 program year, parents and children in the 10 partner cities spent nearly 17,500 hours learning together; 1,600 of those hours were spent doing 67 Family Service Learning projects. Nearly 80 percent of the families in the program were English language learners.
“When parents and children come together to learn and serve, relationships among family members, neighbors and communities are all strengthened,” said Sharon Darling, president and founder of NCFL. “The time commitment is big, but families see this as a worthwhile investment.”
NCFL’s independent evaluators at Penn State University found that among families graduating from Toyota Family Learning programs
- 90% of parents increased their engagement in their children’s education
- 96% of parents became better teachers to their children
- 75% of parents increased their English language skills
- 34% of parents got a better job
Toyota has partnered with NCFL to launch Toyota Family Learning programs in cities across the U.S. Each partner organization received a three-year $175,000 grant for the Toyota and NCFL model program.
“Families across the country are creating better lives for themselves and feeling empowered to become engaged community members thanks to this two-generation literacy model,” said Mike Goss, vice president of external affairs for Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, Inc. “Toyota Family Learning helps bridge the gap between classroom and lifelong learning that is relevant to real life situations.”
NCFL is a leader in family learning initiatives and developed Toyota Family Learning, a two-generation solution to educational challenges that is being employed across the United States. It partners with organizations in Bronx, N.Y.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Denver, Colo.; Detroit, Mich.; Houston, Texas; Lincoln, Neb.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Providence, R.I.; San Mateo, Calif.; and, San Pedro, Calif. Health and financial literacy, reading, STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics)-based education and Family Service Learning projects are all part of Toyota Family Learning. To learn more about these organizations and their events, visit ToyotaFamilyLearning.org/grantees and follow @NCFL on Twitter.