Encourages people to be engaged in schools and communities
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 25, 2016) — The National Center for Families Learning, in partnership with Toyota, the Louisville Free Public Library (LFPL) and Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) on Thursday unveiled a unique family learning program. Called Toyota Family Learning, this innovative, two-generation model addresses the educational challenges facing low-income and ethnically diverse families. LFPL received a three-year, $175,000 grant from Toyota and NCFL to launch the program.
Forty-five Louisville families—more than 140 people— are enrolled in Toyota Family Learning at the Main Library downtown and Okolona Elementary. 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, Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time, and family-to-family mentoring.
Sara Aguirre joined Toyota Family Learning with the hope that it will start her on a path to find a better job and improve her family’s quality of life by helping her get her GED certificate and apply to college. She is learning more English and is relying less on her children to translate.
“My three children and I love PACT Time,” Aguirre said. “Spending that time together is priceless. I know I am learning how to better help them with their homework. We have fun with it and are a stronger family because of it.”
Independent evaluations show that among families graduating from Toyota Family Learning in 2015:
- 90 percent of parents increased their engagement in their children’s education;
- 96 percent became better teachers to their children;
- 75 percent increased their English language skills;
- 34 percent parents got a better job.
“Toyota Family Learning is giving our citizens the tools they need to become contributing members of our community – by being involved in their children’s school, getting better jobs, and being more engaged in their own neighborhood,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “And in keeping with our core value of compassion, these families are not just learning the skills they need to flourish; they’re giving back to the community through Family Service Learning projects.”
The projects include making cards and drawings and delivering them to patients at Kosair Children’s Hospital. They are also beginning a project collecting toiletries to be delivered to Wayside Christian Mission, and are planning a food drive. Additionally, the Toyota Family Learning families will organize a cleanup effort with Operation Brightside later this spring.
Louisville is the 13th community to become part of the Toyota Family Learning program. Two other cities will be unveiled this year. In total, Toyota has committed $10 million over a six-year period for this national education initiative.