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NCFL expands footprint of its two-generation model to benefit Tupelo families

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On April 25, the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) and Toyota unveiled our newest partner in the charge to help lift families out of poverty and into educational success. Community leaders and families in Tupelo, along with staff from NCFL and Toyota, gathered to celebrate the announcement that the Family Resource Center of North Mississippi is the latest organization to adopt NCFL’s innovative, two-generation model called Toyota Family Learning. This evidence-based family learning model is a powerful solution to many of the educational challenges facing low-income and ethnically diverse families. The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi received a three-year, $175,000 grant from Toyota and NCFL to launch the program.

IMG_0468As part of the celebration, families demonstrated Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®, NCFL’s “secret sauce” that makes the Toyota Family Learning model so effective. During PACT Time, families worked on Family Service Learning projects to benefit their community at large. Months of research and investigation into issues facing their communities led to families planting flowers and making quilts for elderly citizens.

About 55 parents and children are enrolled in Toyota Family Learning at three sites in the Northeast Mississippi. The program empowers parents and caregivers, as well as their children, to become engaged in their schools and communities. It also leverages technology as parents and children learn together and serve their communities through NCFL’s Family Service Learning approach, PACT Time, and family-to-family mentoring.

“The Toyota Family Learning program is helping families better reach their potential by empowering adults through literacy, as well as by giving them the tools to be more involved in their children’s education,” said Christi Webb, executive director, Family Resource Center of North Mississippi. “The parents are getting better jobs because of the skills they’re learning through this program. Additionally, the families are becoming more involved in their neighborhoods and giving back through Family Service Learning projects.”

IMG_0787In this free program, parents and their children spend time throughout the week learning together. In addition to gaining skills to help their children succeed in and outside the classroom, parents also build important technology, language, literacy, and job skills.

Kimberly Ledbetter says the program has helped her learn how to work with her 6-year-old daughter who was born prematurely and suffers from hearing loss as a result. “I’ve learned how to better work with my daughter on homework and reading. She’s gone from struggling to now improving her reading scores and having better behavior in school. She is now on the honor roll!”

Results of an independent evaluation from Penn State University of participants graduating from Toyota Family Learning in 2016 show 94 percent became a better parent. Additional results include:

  • 79 percent improved their English skills
  • 47 percent upgraded skills to keep current job
  • 40 percent got a better job
  • 28 percent obtained the knowledge necessary to pass the U.S. citizenship test
  • 29 percent earned a GED certificate or high school equivalency

“The impacts of this program will be felt by families for generations,” said Shea Coughlin, NCFL vice president, external affairs. “This two-generation literacy model elevates families out of poverty by empowering parents with the skills and confidence to improve their life situations. Additionally, they form stronger bonds with their children – a powerful pressure point for educational success. Families also learn to be active in their own communities to make the changes they want to see.”

Toyota and NCFL have partnered since 1991 to bring family literacy programs to more than 2 million families across the country. NCFL is a pioneer in the concept of families learning and serving together to raise literacy levels and improve communities. NCFL-Toyota site-based programs have been brought to life in nearly 60 cities in 32 states.  

“Toyota Mississippi is proud to partner with NCFL to bring this innovative and impactful program to Tupelo,” said Mike Botkin, vice president of administration, Toyota Mississippi. “It is important to Toyota to invest in the communities where its team members live and work. This is a great example of that philosophy.”

Click here to learn more about the impact Toyota Family Learning has made in communities throughout the country.

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