The Read Muskegon Literacy Collaborative (RMLC) addresses the immediate educational needs of children and adults while also targeting systemic challenges that make the growing literacy crisis difficult to address including education inequity, transportation, child care, high rates of incarceration, access to technology, health, and housing instability.
The RMLC is a cross-sector collaboration whose membership includes representation from Parent & Community Leaders, Muskegon Area ISD, the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, West MI Works, Goodwill, United Way, Muskegon Area District Libraries, MI Education Corps, Muskegon Community College, Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office, Region 4 Adult Education, Muskegon Family Care, elected officials, local businesses, the faith community and more.
The 2022-23 initiatives of the RMLC are focused on building the capacity of community members for shared leadership of the RMLC and increasing their civic engagement in relation to education equity. Projects include:
Candidate Forums & Listening Sessions: Focused on increasing community-led advocacy targeting issues relevant to equity in education, the first in a series of candidate forums and listening sessions will take place on Monday, September 26th, from 5:00 – 7:30 p.m. at Covenant Community Church, 134 E. Barney Ave, Muskegon Heights, MI, 49444. All Muskegon County candidates for County Commissioner, State Representative, State Senator, and Congress have been invited to attend.
Family Empowerment Program (FEP): In partnership with the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL), RMLC had brought the researched-based Family Service Learning (FSL) model to Muskegon County through our Family Empowerment Program. Evaluation has shown that it creates measurable change in areas directly linked to improved literacy and education attainment, both areas of critical concern in Muskegon County. The model engages families in building content knowledge, workplace skills, leadership skills, and increasing self-efficacy and social networks and is a proven method for youth and adults to gain college and career readiness skills. Each family receives individualized mentoring focused on creating education goals and removing barriers to accomplishing those goals. FEP will develop parent and student leaders who will then be employed as family mentors for future FEP cohorts, will share leadership in the RMLC, and will be supported in implementing community action focused on education equity.
Parent Villages: RMLC partners are working to spread the implementation of the U of Chicago developed Parent Village program through Muskegon County. The program galvanizes small groups of parents and their allies to speak with a collective voice and push our policymakers, our workplaces, and our communities to create needed change. It ensures all parents have the information, resources, and support they need to optimally raise their children and give them the best chance to succeed.
Activate: National Early Childhood Advocacy Network – Two RMLC parent members are participating in this fellowship which allows parenting adults to come together to reimagine and reform equitable and inclusive systems for families. They will bring their learning and initiatives back to Muskegon County for implementation through the RMLC.
Campaign for Grade Level Reading: RMLC will create a community-led action plan and become an official member of the Campaign. The Campaign is a collaborative effort by foundations, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states and communities across the nation to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship. RMLC will work with national leaders to bring best practices to Muskegon County.
Literacy Summits: RMLC will host literacy summits 3 times per year for community-led learning, conversation and planning that builds on the work of the all of the above initiatives.