PROVIDENCE – The first 25 participants in a family learning program at Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island graduated on June 12.
“In the face of real obstacles in the education landscape, these local graduates exemplify an emerging constant – families learning together is a major key to success,” said Julie Piccolo, director of Family Literacy at the Dorcas International Institute. “The graduates should be proud of their accomplishments during the last 24 weeks.”
The Dorcas International Institute launched the program with a $175,000, three-year Toyota Family Learning grant, awarded by the National Center for Families Learning, and Toyota, for innovation in engaging families in learning. The grant is a part of Toyota Family Learning’s movement to bridge the gap between the classroom and lifelong learning.
Parents and children learning alongside each other is the focus, along with learning from other families and by serving their communities through instruction, service learning, mentoring and technology use.
Graduates received a “family time kit,” which will enable use of interactive tools at Toyota Family Learning’s FamilyTimeMachine.com.
The program was founded in 2013, after the national center conducted a survey and found that more than half of parents wished they knew how to make better use of time spent with their children. To address that need, the center created the new site, which encourages ongoing growth, and made it available to families nationwide.
During the program, graduating families set goals and made progress by completing service learning activities together, engaging in college and career readiness activities, using technology for educational purposes and mentoring other families.
“I feel very blessed for being able to be one of the pioneers of the project, which has shown me that it is never too late to learn new things,” said Leidy Almonte, a new Toyota Family Learning graduate.
The National Center for Families Learning is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping adults and children learn together. Toyota Family Learning is a six-year, nationwide initiative that also offers an online learning community and mobile learning adventures for families. Combined, these organizations have helped more than one million families around the country make significant progress in school, in their homes and in their communities.