African-American fathers a focal point of $1.5 million program expansion in Kentucky

Deraldo Hall didn’t have much support growing up, but he’s working hard to make sure that’s not the case for his children. Hall, his wife, and young children are attending weekly NCFL Family Learning meetings at 2NOT1 in Louisville, Ky. Hall’s family signed up for the program so that Hall could learn to be a more engaged parent in his children’s education, build family bonds, and learn workforce skills that could widen his job prospects.

“I’m learning how to better support my kids and be a better teacher to them. I’ve been working on math with my 4-year-old and she can now add numbers up to 10,” Hall said. “We’re getting to know our kids better, and even more importantly, to understand them.”

For Hall, it’s another step to reaching his goals to be there for his kids and provide the life that he didn’t have. He’s earned his GED® and several certifications and is now planning to take classes to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA).

Families demonstrated Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time® after announcing the Louisville expansion of NCFL Family Learning
Families demonstrated Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time® during the Louisville expansion announcement of NCFL Family Learning

The Halls are among hundreds of Louisville families who now have the opportunity to learn together to better meet their potential academically and economically thanks to an expansion of NCFL Family Learning. The innovative, two-generation family literacy model – pioneered by the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) – is a solution to many of the educational challenges facing low-income and ethnically diverse families. It is being offered at five new sites in Louisville: McFerran Elementary, Americana World Community Center, the Louisville Urban League, 2NOT1, and the Academy of Music Production Education and Development (AMPED). Two additional sites will be added this fall.

The move is a collaborative effort of the community, seven funders, advocates, program sites, and civic leaders. Together, the James Graham Brown Foundation, PNC Bank, C.E. and S. Foundation, Gheens Foundation, Lift a Life Foundation, William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust and an anonymous donor have provided more than $1.5 million to expand NCFL Family Learning in Louisville.

“To see so many in our community coming together to help Louisville families improve their lives through literacy efforts like this reinforces our position as a compassionate city, committed to seeing our fellow citizens thrive,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “The program aligns with our Cradle to Career initiative by helping set the stage for better academic outcomes for our children, in addition to providing parents with the workforce skills they need to get a job or get a better job.”

Louisville Mayor, Greg Fischer, speaking at the Louisville expansion announcement
Louisville Mayor, Greg Fischer, spoke at the Louisville expansion announcement

The model leverages technology as parents and children learn together and serve their communities through Family Service Learning projects, Parent Time, and Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®. 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.

Families demonstrated Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time® during the Louisville expansion announcement of NCFL Family Learning
Families demonstrated Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time® during the Louisville expansion announcement of NCFL Family Learning

“NCFL’s two-generation family literacy model empowers parents with the skills and confidence to improve their life situations and can often elevate them from living in poverty,” said Sharon Darling, NCFL founder and president. “Participants are able to change the trajectory of their lives, providing a lasting impact on their family and the community that will be felt for generations.”

Each site is expected to serve at least 25 families during the first year of programming. 2Not1, AMPED, and the Louisville Urban League will focus the program on African-American fathers, though mothers are also welcome to participate. This move is part of a local and national movement to provide more opportunities for African-American men from cradle to career.

“Only those with antiquated information would insist that we can improve educational outcomes without addressing the needs of the family. No child can feel safe if their caregiver doesn’t feel empowered to protect them,” said Sadiqa Reynolds, Esq., president and chief operating officer of Louisville Urban League. “NCFL Family Learning is a two-generational empowerment model. The benefits are academic, financial, and social. Creating stronger families changes communities and in partnership with NCFL, that is exactly what we will strive to do.”

Results of an independent evaluation from Penn State University of participants graduating from NCFL 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 seven sites announced today are in addition to two Toyota-funded sites that launched in Louisville in 2015. This is NCFL’s largest program expansion to date. With nine total sites, it’s currently the biggest footprint NCFL has in one city.

Family participating in NCFL Family Learning program
Family participating in NCFL Family Learning program

More than 2 million families across the country have participated in family literacy programs through NCFL since 1989. In that time, NCFL’s two-generation programs have been brought to life in more than 100 communities in 38 states.

Interested in bringing NCFL Family Learning to your program site? Subscribe to our enewsletter to receive announcements regarding the next request for proposals.