The Rapidian

Keeping Families Connected

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

Literacy Center Keeps Families Connected by Helping Them Write Letters to Family Members

/Tatum Rucker

Underwriting support from:

Parent and Child Time Together (PACT)

The Schools of Hope program requires parents to spend 1-2 hours each week in their child's classroom for PACT time. During this time, the parent and child may read together, read to each other, or participate in other learning activities together. This is also a time for the parent to learn more about what the child is doing in class which will enable them to play a more active role in their child's learning. In addition to the classroom time together, the parents and children will also attend monthly family literacy events designed to encourage literacy activities in the home. 

/Tatum Rucker

How did it make you feel when you received a letter in the mail from a family member that you had not seen or heard from in a while?  At the Literacy Center of West Michigan, many families moved to the United States leaving behind their loved ones in search of better opportunities for their families.  Recently, we hosted a family night for our Schools of Hope program participants at Harrison Park Elementary School and they had the opportunity to write a letter to family members in their native country.


Thirty families enjoyed pizza and literacy activities together while celebrating their educational milestones.  Parents read books to their children in English, which is something that they were not able to do prior to participating in the program.  Children wrote stories in their native language and in English to showcase their progress.


"It was great to see the love of learning bring families together," said Tatum Rucker, public relations specialist for the Literacy Center.


The Schools of Hope family literacy program is a collaboration between the Heart of West Michigan United Way, Grand Rapids Public Schools and the Literacy Center of West Michigan. The program was developed to assist a growing number of families within the Schools of Hope who need basic English and literacy skills. It is modeled after a successful program developed by the National Center for Family Literacy. The program contains four components: education for the parent, education for the child, parent and child time together (PACT), and parenting discussion time. 



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