Barbara Bush Foundation Scholarship Families, Grateful to Learn, Read Together, Celebrate an American Thanksgiving
Portland, Maine –Dozens of families in Portland have much to be thankful for this year as they prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving. Parents and children who have been awarded Barbara Bush Foundation family scholarships are grateful for the opportunity to improve their reading and writing skills together. The low-income families, originally from Somalia and other countries, have enrolled in classes at the Learning Works family literacy program to improve their reading, writing and English language skills.
“We are thrilled to share our American holiday traditions with families who have never celebrated Thanksgiving before,” said Teyonda Hall, family literacy program director. “This month, they’ve been learning about the history and traditions of our great country and the lessons culminate with today’s festive New Pilgrims event.
Norrie Crocker from Electricity Maine was on hand to donate a check for the purchase of dictionaries needed by the program along with Becky Dyer from the Barbara Bush Foundation.
In addition, through its Core Partner program, Electricity Maine is donating 2% of the monthly electricity bills of customers who choose to support the nonprofit Barbara Bush Foundation. Electricity Maine is also working with the Foundation’s Teen Trendsetters™ Reading Mentors program, which pairs high school youth with struggling first, second and third grade readers to help boost their reading levels. The state’s first Teen Trendsetters programs are gearing up to open in select schools next year.
“Knowing how to read is one of the most fundamental skills a person needs to learn,” said Candace Sanborn, Vice President of Electricity Maine. “We are happy to contribute to this event and to support the work of the Barbara Bush Foundation.”
The Barbara Bush Foundation is a national nonprofit which, for nearly 25 years, has been dedicated to helping the children of Maine and other states enter kindergarten ready to learn and succeed in school. Their parents attend classes to boost their literacy skills and open doors to new opportunities that will improve their family’s life.
In Maine, the need to promote literacy among families is great:
*90% of children whose parents do not have a high school degree live in low-income families
*Just 12% of 3 year olds and 46% of 4 year olds are enrolled in Pre-Kindergarten
*22% of adults in Maine never graduated high school; only 6% are enrolled in adult literacy programs
“We believe every person in America has the right to read,” said Liza McFadden, Barbara Bush Foundation President. “We know investing in our precious children will spur a lifetime of success, but this also means we must invest in their parents. Parents are a child’s first teacher and with 30 million adults in the country lacking basic literacy skills, we must all work together to help families willing to work hard improve their educational level.”
(press release provided by the Barbara Bush Foundation)