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JLGA to Focus on L&C’s Family Literacy Program

Article by: Louise Jett, ljett@lc.edu
GODFREY – After recently surveying the community in an attempt to find its greatest area of need, the Junior League of Greater Alton (JLGA) has voted in support of partnering with Lewis and Clark Community College’s Family Literacy program.

“The Junior League of Greater Alton is thrilled to be partnering with the L&C Family Literacy program,” said JLGA Community Projects/Programs Coordinator Beth Wiemers. “Our League took part in the Association of Junior Leagues International Issue Based Community Impact Training. The community information discovered during this training led us to seek out a partnership with Family Literacy.”

Lewis and Clark’s Adult Education division has been involved in family literacy since 1991. L&C’s Family Literacy program currently assists 30 families, which include 45 children, in need of literacy services, through home visits and educational outreach.

“The purpose of family literacy is to break the cycle of inter-generational illiteracy by helping the parents see that they are their child’s first and most important teacher,” said L&C Adult Education Student Services Coordinator Nancy Young. “The Family Education participants will greatly benefit from the partnership with the JLGA in that we will be able to enhance the services that are currently offered.”

These services include basic skills instruction with most parents having the goal of eventually getting their GED, career exploration and development, parenting workshops, family visits with fun literacy activities, library events and support services.

“Though I love the field of adult education as a whole, family literacy has always held a special place in my heart,” Director of Adult Education Vicki Hinkle said. “Studies show that a child’s educational success is closely tied to that of their mother. Since the parent is the change agent in a family, improving the literacy skills of the parent will have an important impact on the child. We have so many stories of lives that have changed once a family has enrolled in our program. I believe that family literacy works. I am very grateful to the Junior League of Greater Alton for their interest in our community’s families and their commitment to helping them learn and grow together.”

To be eligible for the family literacy program, the adult caregiver must be in need of basic skills instruction and living with one or more children 16 or under. In addition to the services listed above, the participating adult agrees to monthly home visits, attending parenting classes twice a week and participating in family events at the library. To learn more about Adult Education at L&C, visit www.lc.edu/adulted.

“We are in the process of creating events and programs with that will benefit the Family Literacy students as well as our Junior League members,” Wiemers said. “Junior League is passionate about empowering all women to become leaders thus leading to positive community change.”

The Junior Service League organization was founded 1952 and has a history of working with the local schools, parks and recreational organizations and local hospitals. In 1975, the Junior Service League affiliated with the Association of Junior Leagues International to become the Junior League of Greater Alton, becoming one of 293 Junior Leagues across the United States.

JLGA is currently seeking new members. Anyone interested in learning more can contact Wiemers at bew618@charter.net or Emily Johnson at ejohnson@hunterjohnsonlaw.com.