National Center for Families Learning honors the memory of Barbara Bush

“Barbara Bush was an incredible national treasure for what she accomplished through her determination and passion for a literate America. Barbara was never about politics or image in championing the cause for literacy, but was so genuinely concerned that all parents had opportunities and skills to read a book to their children just as she cherished doing with her children and grandchildren. The legacy of Barbara Bush is incredible, and she will go down in history as one of the most admired leaders of our time. Her influence will be felt for many generations by millions of families.” Sharon Darling, President and Founder of the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) remembers her friend and mentor.

Sharon Darling with Barbara Bush
Sharon Darling with Barbara Bush

In 1989, Darling was invited to serve on the founding board of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. Through the years, their relationship grew through their common mission of helping families learn and break the cycle of generational illiteracy. Darling met with the former first lady periodically to brief her on the current state of literacy efforts and the many successes occurring in the nation with family literacy. “Her questions were probing and tough!” Darling recalls.

“Barbara didn’t just talk the talk, she walked the walk by visiting hundreds of family literacy programs throughout the nation listening intently to the stories and struggles of the families she met there. She became more and more determined to make a difference after each of those visits. She was such a convincing champion for literacy that national leaders and influencers understood the urgency and took action. She had a deep knowledge of what was effective and what was needed to make significant gains.”

“Having an opportunity to enjoy her friendship and mentorship for over 30 years has been a blessing in my life. Barbara will always have a place in my heart as I say goodbye to one of the greatest influencers of my life and career.”