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'LEAAP'ing forward

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Amanda Overshine reads to her son, Joseph, at the LEAAP Center as part of an interactive literacy activity for parents and children involved in the Family Literacy Program. Kimberly Gleason Photo. [Order this photo]
* Literacy program receives grant

The Family Literacy program is receiving some much-needed help.

The Barbara Bush Foundation recently awarded a grant of $64,543 to the Clay Community Schools, Clay County Family Literacy Program.

"This is a real honor for our program and the community," Linking Education to Adults, Adolescents and Preschoolers (LEAAP) Center Coordinator Mary Yelton told The Brazil Times.

The Bush Foundation was founded on March 6, 1989. Over the course of the last 15 years, the Foundation has awarded more than $30 million to more than 700 family literacy programs.

The Clay County Family Literacy Program is one of 10 grant recipients from a list of 400 applications.

The program first in 2002, as part of a four-year Federal Even Start Family Literacy Program.

Adult Basic Education (ABE)/GED and high school classes for parents, quality early childhood education for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years, interactive literacy activities for the families and parent education are included in the program.

"It is a very intensive program," Yelton said. "We are able to utilize the facility and other programs in the LEEAP Center to provide a quality program."

In 2006, Congress reduced funds for the Even Start Program and Indiana did not allow programs to reapply for aide. Since that time, the Clay Community Schools has still maintained the Family Literacy Program and services through the help of donations and other services from the community.

"When the cuts were made by Congress and we were no longer able to apply, then we had to look for other alternatives," Yelton said. "We took an original proposal written by Monica Wallace who was the Even Start Family Literacy Program Coordinator and Diane Jones, an adult education teacher, updated it and submitted it last September."

Since November 2002, 103 parents have participated in the program. Of these, 35 have attained their GED diplomas, seven high school diplomas, 48 became employed, 16 entered college, and 15 high school students remained in school.

"We are trying to give parents the tools to break the barriers," Yelton said. "We hope that by helping parents to succeed, then we will help the children to as well."

Without the help of the family literacy program, many parents wouldn't be able to attend ABE/GED classes or high school classes.

"This grant only validates our program and the work that we are doing in the community," she said.

The grant will allow more training and professional development of staff as well as supply the program with some much needed supplies and software.

"We have more than 30 families on the waiting list," Yelton said. "This is a need in our county and we hope with the help of the grant to provide to more families."

For more information call (812) 446-2536 or stop by the LEAAP Center at 501 E. Jackson St., Brazil.

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The LEEAP Center is an outstanding program that accomplishes most what our County needs ~ to educate and employ ~ Mary Yelton should be commended for her dedication & perseverance when other grants ran out ~ Mary & her staff are exemplary program proving what can be done to assist others in creating a better life for their families ~ the LEEAP Center may have lacked funds but the staff's ingenuity has kept the Center doing what they do best ~ educate ~

-- Posted by karebabe on Thu, Sep 18, 2008, at 9:56 AM

I went through the Even Start program and got my GED and I am now almost done with college. Mary Yelton motivated me to do this. She is a good woman and I know she will continue to help alot of people. Good luck with everything and congratulations on the grant Mary!

-- Posted by SKCC on Thu, Sep 18, 2008, at 6:41 PM

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