News & Blog: Community

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Family Literacy Celebration on March 21 Engages GRPS Parents in Literacy 

The Literacy Center of West Michigan is hosting its first annual Family Literacy Celebration on Tuesday, March 21 from 5:30 pm- 7:00 pm at Grand Rapids Public Schools’ Dickinson Elementary School located at 448 Dickinson Street SE in Grand Rapids.

As part of the Community Literacy Initiative at the Literacy Center, this event will support families from Dickinson and Brookside elementary by providing activities designed to promote literacy at home. Families will have an opportunity to receive culturally relevant books matched to children's reading level, in addition to door prizes and dinner. Presentations will be in English, Spanish, and Kinyarwanda. Families will also have the opportunity to connect with Grand Rapids Public Library, Schools of Hope, and Great Start Collaborative.

Mike Nassar, director of the Community Literacy Initiative remarks, "As a former GRPS principal, I understand how strengthening parent engagement will have a direct impact on student achievement. I am excited about the Literacy Celebration providing a key support for schools and families to ensure all children read at grade level."

 On Monday, December 5, the Literacy Center of West Michigan received a grant from the Michigan Office of New Americans to (MONA) to create a construction career pathway, including ESL instruction, for refugees in West Michigan. One of only five recipients statewide, the Literacy Center will be partnering on the project with West Michigan Works!, Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. West Michigan Chapter (ABCWM), and Grand Rapids Community College’s (GRCC) Workforce Training.

Through this partnership, West Michigan Works! will recruit refugees who are interested in learning English for the construction sector. The learners will begin with 10 weeks of ESL instruction from the Literacy Center in preparation for ABCWM’s 13-week Construction Core class.

Learners are expected to graduate from the 23-week course with an OSHA 10-hour certification, a National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Core Construction certification, and a rough terrain forklift license.

Guest blogger: Kaylee Moreno, MSW, Director of the Community Literacy Initiative

I firmly believe that leadership and professional development are lifelong pursuits. After graduating from Ferris State University in 2014 with a BA in Social Work and from the University of Michigan in 2015 with my MS in Social Work, I began my position as the Director of the Community Literacy Initiative at the Literacy Center of West Michigan last August. I’ll admit that I wasn’t completely ready to leave the classroom for the working world, so I spent one Saturday each month participating in the Latino Talent Initiative through Ferris State University. I worked with a cohort of 16 other rising Latin@ leaders in our community on cultural awareness, professional development, leadership development, and civic engagement.

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Spellebration 2016 celebrated the community's efforts to bring about a just and vibrant West Michigan through the power of literacy. We were pleased to honor Mr. John C. Kennedy as the Fifth Third Bank Champion of Literacy, Ms. Carol Paine-McGovern with the Ledy Award for Community Engagement, and Ms. Alice Apol as the Marshall Pitler Volunteer of the Year Award.

The Literacy Center recently published our fiscal year 2015 Annual Report and Newsletter.

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