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Literacy Coalition News
March/April 2016

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Countywide Expansion of Imagination Library a Huge Hit!

On Read Across America Day on March 2nd at WCNY’s Education Center, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney “officially” announced open enrollment countywide for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The event had a Dr. Seuss theme, as the day is celebrated in conjunction with the birthday of the beloved children’s author. In just that first week over 1,000 new families enrolled their children. To date, we have now close to 3,000 new enrollments, with monthly books being mailed to 7,218 children and total delivered books at 124,875.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney reads to children from The Salvation Army in celebration of "Read Across America Day." Photo credit: Matt Gutierrez.

On that day we also announced that the Campaign for Grade-level Reading was awarding our community a national Pacesetter Honor. This is among the highest awards presented by the Campaign; the Pacesetter Honors celebrate exceptional effort and measurable progress by select Network communities from across the country. These awards recognize communities that are “leading by example” to solve one or more of the challenges that can undermine early literacy. Further, the awards highlight the specific steps that communities are taking to address the key factors contributing to the success and sustainability of such efforts.

In addition, we were very pleased to announce the following winners of our 2016 “Literacy Champion” Grants that annually support family literacy programming with funding from the Central New York Community Foundation:

  1. InterFaith Works of CNY: Jump Up! Story Circles: $10,000
  2. Children’s Consortium: Read & Rise for Child Care Providers: $9,648
  3. LCM/STEP Center: Learning to Read-Families Together: $9,000
  4. Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo: Literacy Trifecta: $7,150
  5. Onondaga County Public Library: Play & Learn Centers: $6,403
  6. Children’s Consortium: Read & Rise-Family Literacy Events: $5,300
  7. The Salvation Army: Family Literacy Programming: $4,852
  8. WCNY: Odd Squad Summer Day Camp: $4,619
  9. Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo: Tadpole Academy: $4,050

Children’s Consortium staff members (left to right) Kathy McDonald, Kathy Harter (Executive Director), Aly Forman, and Koryn Emery were on hand to accept their Literacy Champion Grant Award. Photo credit: Chuck Wainwright.

Learn more about these "Literacy Champion" grant awards »

Join us in building a nation of readers. Learn more about our work in the community, visit us at www.onliteracy.org, follow us on Twitter, or friend us on Facebook too!

'I didn't know I could work': After a life on welfare, a job changed everything.

This is part of an on-going series The Cost of Poverty, a look at Syracuse's poverty crisis

By Marnie Eisenstadt | syracuse.com
March 10, 2016

Syracuse, N.Y. -- A little more than a year ago, Marshiela Radcliff learned to drive. She opened her first bank account. She bought a used minivan.

One thing made all of the others possible: After spending 20 years on public assistance, Radcliff got her first paying job as a certified nursing assistant. At the age of 35, Radcliff earned her first paycheck.

Portrait of Marshiela Radcliff of Syracuse. Radcliff after years of being on public assistance, is now working with a part time job by getting her Certified Nursing Assistance degree. She was hired by Loretto in October 2014. Photo credit: Dennis Nett

"All this stuff was at my fingertips?" Radcliff said recently, sitting on a couch in the sparsely furnished home she shares with six of her children. "I didn't know. I didn't know I could work... I didn't know I could do that."

Radcliff was a stereotype: She is a single mother with seven children born in the span of a decade. She supported them collecting welfare for 20 years. She spent decades in a system where the message she said she heard was that she couldn't work. Read full article »

Learn more about the poverty crisis in Syracuse »

Read about the anti-poverty group being formed, Greater Syracuse HOPE »

Learn more about the grant awarded by the Central New York Community Foundation »

Read more articles in the Syracuse.com series on the Cost of Poverty »

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