Literacy for Life
Genesee County is challenged by a silent crisis: one in two adults lack the basic skills needed to meet 21st century education, employment and life requirements. Many adults are unable to complete a job description effectively, help their children with homework, or read information on a prescription bottle.
Flint & Genesee Literacy Network
A child’s capacity to read at grade level is a strong indicator of life success. Twenty-nine percent of fourth graders in Genesee County are below state standards in reading. And we know that children who struggle to read at grade level often have parents who have low literacy skills. That’s why our commitment to literacy is based on a two generation approach … providing resources and supports for both children and adults.
Summer learning loss is addressed by the Flint & Genesee Literacy Network, funded in part by the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.
CFGF’s primary investment strategy to improve literacy rates in our community involves supporting the Flint & Genesee Literacy Network. In this way, we can help galvanize the entire community to address barriers faced by vulnerable learners. Our support of the Network involves serious financial support, serving on the governance body, and active participation by staff and CFGF volunteers on the Action Teams of the Network.
Literacy Network staff includes, from left, Ja’Nel Jamerson, Danielle Brown and Jeremiah White.
With 29% of Genesee County fourth graders reading below Michigan standards, and up to 10% of adult residents reading below optimal levels, low literacy remains a concern throughout our region. Challenges such as this require a strategic, far-reaching approach. In 2014, several organizations in Flint and Genesee County joined forces to shape a new future of literacy for our community. We continue to support the organization that began from that initial gathering: The Flint and Genesee Literacy Network (FGLN).
FGLN now connects more than 300 community stakeholders. Through these partnerships, the Network has established a new early learning center, a two-generation literacy program, the Read While You Wait Initiative located in barbershops and beauty salons, and the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library/Flint Kids Read initiative delivering one book per month to Flint children from birth to age five.
At the Community Foundation, supporting FGLN is one of our foremost priorities.
“The Community Foundation has been a catalyst for this work,” said Ja’Nel Jamerson, FGLN Director. “It has encouraged collaboration and aligned its resources with the community’s priorities. The support of the Community Foundation has allowed partners to define the scope of our work community-wide. We are now focused on scale and sustainability.”
In recognition of its outstanding work, the national Campaign for Grade Level Reading recognized FGLN as a 2017 Pacesetter. The future is looking bright for literacy in Flint.
“The Community Foundation has encouraged collaboration and aligned its resources with the community’s priorities, committing to the ongoing learning and development that is required to lead this work with vitality.”
Ja’Nel Jamerson, Director of FGLN