As an introduction to a new, nationwide pilot

Laura Nethken Published:

As an introduction to a new, nationwide pilot program, you are invited to view two Family Literacy video series at 9:30 a.m. Monday at West Park Elementary School in Ravenna. This viewing will kick off a training session for Event Start staff members, who will implement the Madison Heights/Lifelines program beginning March 1.

The Portage County Literacy Coalition is constantly seeking out new ways to educate, inform and inspire the community in terms of Adult Basic and Literacy Education. Our two-pronged approach reaches out to disadvantaged adults who need to gain mastery of reading, writing and other life skills. At the same time, we inform the greater Portage County community, who may not realize the need for literacy training or the literacy programs offered for those who benefit from it.

The Madison Heights/Lifelines video series combine distinctive aspects of television drama (Madison Heights series) and documentaries (Lifelines series) to present real-life and engaging stories about families all over America who struggle to improve themselves and their position within their communities. Each video is accompanied by print materials that provide both teachers and students from infancy through adulthood with a rich variety of activities that encourage problem solving, critical thinking, vocabulary and language awareness, reading, writing and math skills, to empower adults as parents, workers and citizens.

This teaching aid fits seamlessly into the ongoing Even Start program serving Portage County families at both the West Park School in Ravenna and the Windham Community Center, where adults and their pre-school children develop skills together, and adults are trained to become better parents.

The integrated family literacy curriculum develops skill building in four target areas: Adult Basic and Literacy Education, parenting, Parent and Child Together, and Early Childhood Education developmental training. The PCLC supports Even Start and other Maplewood ABLE programs throughout the county at no charge.

The Madison Heights/Lifelines Family Literacy Series was produced by Intelecom, in cooperation with nine State Departments of Education and the United States Department of Education, the Office of Adult and Vocational Education, and the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The Maplewood Career Center ABLE is one of only five other ABLE providers in Ohio to be selected as a pilot program site for this innovative Family Literacy video series. These Ohio representatives are among nine states nationwide to participate in the pilot program. Maplewood Career Center ABLE Coordinator Helen Jane Wilson and Even Start Coordinator Odessa Pinkard are thrilled to be able to offer this program to local Even Start families.

We give this program high ratings in terms of how it will motivate our families, said Pinkard. I believe the dramas and documentaries will give them hope and strength to overcome their problems and achieve their educational and parenting goals. These films portray very true-to-life experiences of families very like those we serve in our program. The underlying message of each segment is strength in families and the ability to overcome.

Currently, 25 families are enrolled in the Even Start program serving Portage County. They will soon benefit from the Madison Heights/Lifelines Family Literacy series. If you or someone you know wouldlike to take advantage ofEven Start programming, call Even Start at (330) 297-4166 or Maplewood Career Center ABLE at (330) 296-2892.

To learn more about the Maplewood ABLE program and the Portage County Literacy Coalition, call (330) 297-4418. Director Helen Jane Wilson can be reached by e-mail at hjwilson@maplenet.sparcc.org.

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