Read Muskegon Launches Countywide Literacy Collaborative

 

Muskegon County is clearly on the move, but over 20,000 adults in our community are at a virtual standstill because they cannot read well enough to fill out a job or housing application, read safety information in the workplace, follow healthcare instructions, or read to their children and grandchildren. The literacy statistics are even more staggering for our children.  Less than 50% of our 5-year-olds enter kindergarten ready to learn and more than 60% of our incoming 4th graders are not reading at grade level.

 

There is a literacy crisis in Muskegon County and it is time to take dramatic, focused action to combat it.

 

We know that no single education system, government agency or non-profit organization can independently resolve this issue.  That’s why Read Muskegon is leading a countywide effort to develop a results-oriented literacy collaborative dedicated to combating the illiteracy crisis through collective impact. Together, Read Muskegon and its extensive network of collaborative partners are focused on ensuring that all individuals in need of improved literacy skills, no matter their age, have access to the information and resources they need to succeed.

 

The collaborative includes a broad spectrum of community partners including: the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District, Community Foundation for Muskegon County, MI Reading Corps, Mercy Health – Community Health Project, Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office, Muskegon Community College, Baker College, Goodwill, United Way, Talent 2025, Chamber of Commerce, Region 4 Adult Education, West MI Works, White Lake Community Education, Muskegon Area District Libraries, Hackely Public Library, Urban League, and city & state government officials.  Equally as important, we are actively engaging resident voices as members and leaders of the collaborative.

 

Over the past 12 months, collaborative members have been working in partnership with the National Center for Families Learning to assess the literacy landscape in Muskegon County through interviews, surveys and community focus groups. What did we find?  We’re doing a lot of things right and we’ve got a lot of great programs ready to support our communities.  But, we also found a lot of gaps in service and systemic challenges that are creating barriers to success for our most vulnerable learners, across their life span.

 

 

85 individuals gathered last September to review the findings and prioritize next steps.  As a result, three initial action teams were formed. The Collaborative Steering Committee has been focused on creating the mission, vision and structure for the group. The Public Awareness team will work on creating a campaign to increase the general public understanding of illiteracy and connect community members to services. The Integrated Continuum of Services team is working to ensure a seamless transition from birth through adult literacy supports with a focus on family literacy and breaking generational cycles.

 

The next meeting of the collaborative will take place on Thursday, March 26th, from 9:30-12:00. If you are interested in more information, please contact Melissa Moore. 231-830-5539 or Melissa.moore@readmuskegon.org.

 

 

Project Fatherhood Book Club

 

 

“Just because it’s easier to build strong children than repair broken men, doesn’t mean we leave men broken.”  – Jason Wilson, Cry Like A Man

 

Literacy is about more than the ability to read words. It’s about using the power of those words to change the course of your life: to participate in your community, to achieve your goals, to create a better future for your children. That is the foundation of the Project Fatherhood Book Club, a weekly gathering of fathers hosted by Read Muskegon that engages men in reading books that provoke intense and often difficult conversations with a goal of changing life outcomes for the participants, their children and their larger community.

In 2010, former gang member turned community activist Big Mike Cummings asked UCLA gang expert Jorja Leap to co-lead a group of men struggling to be better fathers in Watts, South LA, a neighborhood long burdened with a legacy of racialized poverty, violence, and incarceration. These men came together each week to help one another answer the question ‘How can I be a good father when I’ve never had one?’ The book Project Fatherhood follows the lives of the men as they struggle with the pain of their own losses, the pressures of poverty and unemployment, and the desire to do better for the next generation. Recognizing similar struggles exist for men here in Muskegon County, the book became the inspiration for Read Muskegon’s Project Fatherhood Book Club.

 

          

 

 

The Project Fatherhood Book Club began in 2019 with a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion grant from the Anton Family Fund of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County. They funded the first 8-week session. As the group grew, the dads let us know that the book club needed to continue. Read Muskegon, along with our partner, Dads on Deck, has committed to making that happen.  Our focus is to empower participants to break the generational cycles of illiteracy, incarceration and poverty.

The Project Fatherhood Book Club meets in 8-week sessions with each session focused on a book selected by the participants.  Shared reading aloud from the book, discussion, and journaling are be incorporated into each session with a focus on using written text as the catalyst for processing difficult issues, expressing thoughts and feelings in a constructive manner, and setting personal goals. Read Muskegon’s instructor facilitates the process of shared reading in a way that is sensitive to all reading levels. Each week also incorporates a guest speaker or shared information that focuses on one of the social determinants of health such as: the importance of physical & mental health, cooperative parenting, father activity/fun time, financial literacy & stability, advocacy and engagement in children’s education. Participants who would like to receive extra reading support can meet one on one with a Read Muskegon tutor or staff member.

We need the financial support of our community to make this happen. Our goal is to raise $10,000 to support the book club through 2020. Funds will cover books, food, facilitators, materials, and family & community events developed by the dads. Please consider supporting this group of fathers who are working hard to change the outcomes for the next generation.

Click Here to Donate

 

Holiday Village 2017

Read Muskegon’s Holiday Village was a huge success.  This year’s event was held at Covenant Community Church. Over 100 of our neighbors participated in 10 village stations that were designed to help build early literacy skills.  Santa made sure each child got a stack of books to bring home along with the ornaments and cookies they decorated.  Thanks to our friends at Read Early Read Often for donating the beautiful books!

 

 

Ribbon Cutting Marks Opening of Family Literacy Center

While Read Muskegon has been running programs from our new space at 26 E. Broadway since June, 2017, we marked the official opening of our new Family Literacy Center with a ribbon cutting ceremony in October.   Muskegon Heights Mayor, Kim Sims, and MAISD Superintendent, John Severson, spoke about the importance of our partnerships before the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce helped officiate the ribbon cutting.  We were thrilled to have so many members of our community join in our celebration.

 

Read Muskegon Offers ESL ( English As A Second Language) Class

Over the past 3 years, Read Muskegon has developed programs tailored to lower literacy adults. Through a grant from the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act, Read Muskegon is now able to expand this program and also include specialized classes for English Language Learners (ELL).

The ELL class also includes curriculum focused on family literacy so that parents who are new to the English language also understand how to support their children’s academic readiness and success. Besides improving their literacy, all participants learn important skills such as following directions, verbal communication, and how to provide positive feedback.

Classes meet twice per week with a rolling admission.  Participants receive certificates for every 40 hours of class completed, with the option to expand their learning time at our Family Literacy Center with 1-1 tutoring or specially designed software.

For more information, contact Noah Reynolds,  ESL Program Instructor at 231-747-7273 or noah.reynolds@readmuskegon.org

 

                                            

                            

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on enrollment in these classes, call 231-747-7273. Sign Up Today!

Spring 2017 Newsletter

Our Spring 2017 Newsletter is all about our move to Muskegon Heights and the opening of our Family Literacy Center.  Click on the link below to read all about it!

 

Spring 2017 Newsletter

Read Muskegon to relocate to Downtown Muskegon Heights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Read Muskegon to relocate to Downtown Muskegon Heights

In partnership with the City of Muskegon Heights Downtown Development Authority, local non-profit organization Read Muskegon will open a Family Literacy Center at 26 East Broadway in the spring of 2017.  The center will act as a countywide hub for literacy with a focus on providing programming for low-literacy adults and their 0-5 year-old children.

Read Muskegon will be the first organization to partner with the Downtown Development Authority to invigorate commercial corridors in Muskegon Heights. As Read Muskegon brings its programs and administrative offices to the new site, it also brings its volunteers and partners, allowing them to see firsthand the opportunities that exist in the City.

According to Melissa Moore, President of Read Muskegon, “Opening a literacy center that is accessible to many of our learners with the most critical needs has been at the core of Read Muskegon’s long-term planning.  We are excited about all of the opportunities that relocating to the heart of the Muskegon Heights downtown will bring with it.”

The menu of services offered at the Literacy Center will include:

  • 1-1 tutoring
  • Small group classes focused on improving functional literacy, job readiness and instruction for parents on how to engage in early literacy development with their children
  • English as a Second Language small group class focused on job readiness, functional literacy and developing early literacy in children
  • Literacy based Play & Learn groups for low-literacy parents and 0-5 year-olds
  • Literacy based ABC’s of Cooking, a six-week parent and child healthy cooking workshop for low-literacy parents and 0-5 year-olds
  • Drop-in Literacy Lab tutoring
  • Family Reading Corner open 5 days a week

Additionally, Read Muskegon will offer community-based Family Literacy activities and book distribution at the Height’s Farmer’s Market, family movie nights, and other community events.

“The DDA Board has been extremely proactive in assisting the City with our economic development efforts, and will play a key role moving forward as we work to establish viability and diversity in our offerings downtown. We at the City of Muskegon Heights are thrilled to see Read Muskegon making an investment in our downtown, and are confident they will make a great impact in our community,” said City Manager Jake Eckholm.

One in six adults in the United States is functionally illiterate, reading at or below the 4th grade level.  In Muskegon County, that translates to more than 21,000 adults.  The adverse effects of illiteracy are felt in our economic, education, criminal justice, and health care systems.  Read Muskegon is focused on breaking the generational cycle of illiteracy by providing customized programs that meet the unique needs of their learners.

Contact:

Melissa Moore

231-830-5539

melissa.moore@readmuskegon.org

 

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Team Up with Us for Our Next Tutor Training April 17th and 18th!

Our next Tutor Training is April 17th and 18th from 6-9pm! There is always dinner provided (usually pizza)! Both nights are required unless you have made special arrangements with Sarah.

It will be located at our office at Central United Methodist Church (1011 2nd St. Muskegon, MI 49440).

If you are interested in joining our awesome team of volunteers, please contact Sarah at 231-766-5040 to sign up for an orientation prior to completing a tutor training.

You MUST sign-up with Sarah  and complete an orientation before attending the training!

Come Join Us at Our Bi-Weekly Play & Learn

Play & Learn

Hands-on Activities for Ages 0-5

ABC Learning Centers

Chance for Parent and Child to Bond, Learn, and have FUN!

FREE Snacks & Books!

 

1 PM to 2:30 PM

Samuel Lutheran Church

540 Houston Ave.

 Muskegon MI, 49442

 

  • March 6th
  • March 20th
  • April 10th
  • April 24th
  • May 8th
  • May 22nd

Call Sarah at 231-766-5040 with any questions! 

 

Read Muskegon Quarterly Newsletter Now Online

 

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Click on the link below to catch up on what’s been happening at Read Muskegon and what we’re planning for the future.

 

Read Muskegon Quarterly Newsletter