Literacy Collaborative Community Summit: What Happened? What Comes Next?

On February 23rd, over 100 community members joined together to focus their collective wisdom, creative problem-solving skills, and resources to tackle the literacy crisis that exists in Muskegon County.  Here’s a brief recap of the event and an opportunity to get involved.


Melissa Moore, Read Muskegon’s Executive Director, started by sharing some statistics to create a vision of the literacy landscape in Muskegon County. “Illiteracy is one of the most complex, interconnected, and deeply-rooted issues we face as a nation, ” Moore said. “It’s an issue of social justice, because those who cannot read cannot equally participate in our society.” She challenged attendees to be “disrupters” in the generational cycle of illiteracy.

Sharon Darling, founder and CEO of the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL), applauded Muskegon County for their collaborative efforts to tackle illiteracy and said she would like to see it become a model for the nation. She called literacy the stem of the flower whose petals are issues like welfare, health care, and criminal justice reform that rely on the strong base of literacy to keep blooming. She noted that while our country’s literacy statistics have been going backwards, we know what to do and the time is now to start doing it.

 

Poppy Sias-Hernandez, Equity & Inclusion Officer for Governor Whitmer, remarked that equity is the outcome of diversity and inclusion and that we need to continue our efforts to create equitable education and other systems that support everyone. She said that equity happens through collective efforts, when people bring their grit, talent and resources to the creation of solutions.

 

 

Rosa Guzman-Snyder, Director of Community Development for NCFL, presented a timeline of the work that has been done by the literacy collaborative and the vision for moving forward.  She set the stage for attendees to participate in breakout room conversations focused on 3 areas as they relate to tackling illiteracy: Economic Opportunity & Workforce Development: coordination of adult learning opportunities leading to family-sustaining wages, Education: mobilizing as a community to support our schools and ensure families have what they need to help their children succeed, and Neighborhoods & Community Leadership: utilizing existing networks to bridge the gap between needs and services. Input from the breakout sessions will be used by the collaborative work groups to create short and long-term action plans.

 

Breakout Session Summaries
You can read summaries of each of the sessions and the “BIG IDEAS” that started to emerge by clicking the links below.

Education Summary

Economic Opportunity Summary

Neighborhoods & Community Leadership Summary

 

Are YOU ready to be part of the SOLUTION? 

It’s going to take all of us working together to create real, sustainable change. Click the link below to sign up for a Read Muskegon Literacy Collaborative work group or to share a “Big Idea”.

 

CLICK HERE TO GET INVOLVED

We Need Your Voice – March 26th Literacy Collaborative Convening

Read Muskegon Literacy Collaborative Convening

Thursday, March 26th, 9:00 -11:30

Hilt Building, 425 W. Western Ave, Muskegon

 

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

 

Over the past 12 months, members of the Read Muskegon Literacy Collaborative have been working in partnership with the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) 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.

Join us on March 26th – 

  • Official release of findings from NCFL’s research
  • Updates from our first three Action Teams: Steering Committee, Public Awareness & Integrated Continuum of Services
  • Partner Networking & Marketplace: an opportunity to share ideas, form new action teams, and find out how you can be part of the change.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

If you are interested in sharing relevant information during the Marketplace or have questions about the collaborative please contact Melissa Moore.  melissa.moore@readmuskegon.org or 231-830-5539

 

Read Muskegon Literacy Collaborative Steering Committee

  • Karen Blackledge – Muskegon Area District Libraries
  • LaTonya Beene – United Way
  • Tammy Britton – Talent 2025
  • Jane Clingman-Scott – Community Advocate
  • Jim Fisher – Second Act
  • Liz Garman – Baker College
  • DJ Hilson – Muskegon County Prosecutor
  • Jill Irwin – White Lake Community Education – Early Childhood
  • Logan Jensen – Mercy Health/CHIR
  • Cynthia Langlois – Muskegon Community College
  • Carl Lewis – Goodwill
  • Amy Moore – Community Foundation for Muskegon County
  • Melissa Moore – Read Muskegon
  • Kathy Rohlman – West MI Works!
  • Michelle Wahlberg – MAISD Literacy Coach
  • Pat Walstra – Region 4 Adult Education
  • Jonathan Wilson – DTE Energy/Read Muskegon Board Chair
  • Holly Windram – Michigan Reading Corps
  • Joe Zappocosta – Hackley Library