SSISD gets $25,000 grant for family literacy program
From Staff Reports

July 20, 2005 -- Sulphur Springs Independent School District's 21st Century Community Learning Center has won a prestigious grant from the First Lady's Family Literacy Initiative for Texas.

With this $25,000 grant, Families Reading Together will expand existing services by providing evening classes at the Boys and Girls Club. Services will help reach an underserved population at a time that is conducive to their working schedules.

According to Holly Hicks, an instructor in the program, the primary objective is to increase the reading ability of 25 adults and 40 children through a family literacy integrated approach.

"The First Lady's Family Literacy Initiative for Texas will provide services to SSISD families to advance literacy and encourage reading for all family members while offering life-long learning a place in every home," Hicks said. "As the immigration population in the school district grows, the need for family literacy increases as well."

The funds will be used to provide a staff member for instructional activities for both adults and children.

"The activity schedule will offer evening classes to meet the needs of working parents," Hicks explained. "Activities will be held at the Boys and Girls Club, and instructional materials will be purchased to develop literacy among parents and children. The services will be offered free of charge."

Sulphur Springs ISD is one of 10 grant recipients chosen in the annual grant competition.

Launched at the Governor's Mansion in Austin in 1996 by Mrs. Laura Bush, who is the honorary chair of the program, the First Lady's Family Literacy Initiative has awarded more than $2 million to create or expand family literacy programs in which parents, as well as their children, build their literacy skills by reading and learning together. To date, thousands of families have benefited from participation in these innovate programs in 59 Texas cities, and the initiative is still going strong. This year, ten grants totaling nearly $250,000 were awarded.

"A child who can read is a child who can succeed in school and life. And parents are vital to their child's success in learning to read," said First Lady Laura Bush. "These funds will provide essential resources to the valuable programs across Texas that are helping its communities succeed."

Technical assistance for the new grantees is provided by the Texas Center for the Advancement of Literacy and Learning at Texas A&M University in College Station.

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