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Nov 9, 2018 |
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Candice is a member of the Hopi tribe of the Tobacco clan in Arizona and is a mother of four. She and her son Cameron are participants in the Family and Child Education (FACE) family literacy program for American Indian families. FACE is funded by the Bureau of Indian Education and the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) is contracted to provide training and technical assistance to FACE program staff. Candice was recently invited to share her family literacy story at the 2018 Families Learning Conference.

Candice was a stay-at-home mom for many years before she came to the FACE program. Although she hadn’t graduated high school, she knew the importance of learning and education, and stressed this to her children. While being a stay-at-home mom, she volunteered at her children’s school regularly.  There Candice met an adult education instructor, Dolores, who invited Candice to join the FACE program. Candice didn’t join right away, but Dolores was persistent, reminding her about the program often, saying, “We’ve got a place for you.”

One day Candice and her family attended an open house at her children’s elementary school and she was once again greeted by Dolores. The two discussed ways that Candice could work towards her goals, like education, things to do at home with her children, Parent Time, and how to work on her wellness.  Though Candice was a little embarrassed, she confided to Dolores that she wanted to work toward earning her GED®.  Dolores gave her two thumbs up, said, “Yay, we can do that,” and gave her the registration packet for the FACE program.

This time, Candice was ready to join. Two days later she turned in her packet and she got to work right away, practicing—and passing—her exams for the GED.  During her first year in the FACE program, she passed civics, social studies, reading, English Language Arts, and science. Passing didn’t exactly come easy, though. Her science exam took many attempts. She missed it by one point, then by two points. 

“I prayed and I cried, and I was at the point where I wanted to give up,” Candice recounted. But she remembered what she told her kids about the importance of education and knew she had to try again.

When she got ready to take the test a third time, she had a new tactic, suggested by Dolores: answer the questions she knew first and then come back to the ones she flagged. That’s what she did—and she passed!

Candice (left) with her instructor Dolores

Now the math test is all that Candice has left.  She is excited, because all the tools and practice she received through the FACE program have helped her find ways to understand and work toward her goals. “The M&Ms Dolores gives us before a test don’t hurt either—it’s the power of the peanuts,” Candice joked.

On days when she is not studying for a test or attending Parent Time with the other parents, she enjoys Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time® with Cameron in his classroom and at home.  Cameron has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for speech, and PACT Time helps her understand how he learns and ways to help him.  She also has individualized Parent Time to help her understand how to support his IEP goals.

Candice enjoys being involved in her community and often presents to different classes about family resources, sharing how she works with her children. She enjoys using family time and play as opportunities for learning, such as using bubbles and slime to learn about science and going on scavenger hunts to explore nature.

Candice with Margo Waddell (NCFL), Sue Bement (BIE), Stanley Holder (keynote speaker) and Sharon Darling (NCFL) at the 2018 Families Learning Conference

Standing in front of hundreds at the 2018 Families Learning Conference, Candice said, “I would love to thank my family for supporting my dreams and standing by my side and never giving up on me. Thank you also to Sharon Darling, the National Center for Families Learning, Sue Bement, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the Salt River FACE team for your time and support. Asquali.”


November is National Family Literacy Month®, a time when we celebrate families who are working to better their lives and the tireless efforts of those working in family literacy and family-focused programs. On Fridays in November, we're sharing an inspirational story of an adult learner who has participated in an NCFL family literacy program. 

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NCFL Partners

Toyota Family Learning Program

Toyota, one of the nation's most successful corporations, began a partnership with NCFL in 1991. In addition to a commitment of more than $35 million, Toyota has also contributed a wealth of in-kind support — including advertising, planning and management expertise — to form one of the most progressive corporate/nonprofit partnerships in the nation.

Three major programs have been developed through the Toyota partnership based on the family literacy model of parents and children learning together. These models have influenced federal and state legislation, leveraged local dollars to support family literacy and led to successful programs being replicated across the country.

Read More about Toyota and NCFL

Dollar General Literacy Foundation

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation began partnering with NCFL in 2006. A signature effort of this partnership is the National Literacy Directory, a resource that launched in 2010 and strives to reach the 35.7 million adults ages 18-64 who do not have a high school diploma by guiding them to better-paying, more stable jobs.

The National Literacy Directory contains over 10,000 educational agencies located across the United States and has a dedicated toll-free number to help support those wanting to pursue educational opportunities in their communities.

Dollar General also provides support for development of NCFL’s innovative family learning resources centered on financial literacy and Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®.

Go to Dollar General Literacy Foundation's website

PNC Grow Up Great

PNC Grow Up Great believes deeply in the power of high-quality early childhood education and provides innovative opportunities that assist families, educators and community organizations to enhance children's learning and development.

PNC Grow Up Great has partnered with NCFL since 1994 to advance early literacy and learning resources for vulnerable families. Current efforts supported by PNC include a collaborative initiative in two at-risk Detroit communities that engages families to support vocabulary development for children under age 5.

NCFL's work is also featured on the PNC Grow Up Great Lesson Center website. The Lesson Center includes over 100 free, high-quality preschool lesson plans and research-based instructional techniques and strategies. All lesson plans contain Home/School Connections printouts, in English and Spanish, to help families extend and reinforce the learning at home.

PNC Grow Up Great

W.K. Kellogg Foundation

NCFL has partnered with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation since January 2016. The Foundation is currently supporting a dynamic two-generation family engagement initiative that expands NCFL's Family Learning model into select Head Start programs nationwide. NCFL's model presents an innovative way to support Head Start programs in meeting outcomes aligned with the Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework.

Visit the Foundation website

Better World Books

Better World Books selected NCFL as its domestic literacy partner in 2005 and has raised more than $1 million to support NCFL’s work and donated more than $15 million to support literacy and education efforts worldwide. Better World Books is a triple-bottom-line online bookstore, working equally for people, planet and profit. Each book purchased powers literacy across the world.

Better World Books’ support of NCFL has provided books and workshops to families after Hurricane Katrina, donated large book donations to literacy programs and families nationwide and fueled innovative family literacy and learning programs and resources in libraries, schools and community-based organizations. In addition to their work for literacy and education, Better World Books diverts books from landfills and offers carbon-balanced shipping.

Better World Books

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

In 2013, NCFL began a partnership with the Gates Foundation to ensure that our network of students, teachers, and families thrive among recent shifts in standards-based education. NCFL will leverage the unique strengths of our award-winning Wonderopolis® platform to build upon the growing teacher network that uses the resource for core daily instruction and as a basis for professional growth.

Foundation Website

Goodling Institute

NCFL has partnered with the Goodling Institute for Research and Family Literacy at Penn State University since 2001, working collaboratively to further research, professional development, and policy efforts for family literacy and intergenerational learning.

The work of this partnership includes, but is not limited to, a strong research strand at NCFL's national annual convening, the Families Learning Summit; advocacy for family literacy and learning to further support for and inclusion of family-focused education in new and ongoing legislation; and dissemination of the latest research, resources, information, and professional development opportunities for literacy and learning practitioners and advocates, including the Certificate in Family Literacy provided by the Goodling Institute.

Goodling Institute for Research and Family Literacy at Penn State University