This past September, I read about a promotion for the “Mass Literacy Champions” grant, and considered applying. Like many other intentions, I “forgot” about exploring it, and didn’t reconnect with the idea until the MassCUE Conference. There, I spoke at length with Julie DeFrancesco, Mass Literacy Director, who both explained the program and encouraged me to apply.
Seven other recipients received the 2018 awards: Jane Cohen DeHaven – Coordinator for Early Childhood Alliance of Framingham; Kevin Green – CEO of Seeds of a Father in Springfield; Susan Jaye-Kaplan – Founder of Link to Libraries in Hampden; Lorie Mendoza – Executive Director of Si, Se Puede in Lawrence; Diane Nostin Houle – Manager of Brightwood and Indian Orchard Branch Libraries in Springfield; Julie Roach – Manager of Youth Services at Cambridge Public Library and Dr. Kimberly Shaver-Hood – Superintendent of Wareham Public Schools.
About the program:
The Mass Literacy Champions Program was established in 2002 to “identify, publicly recognize and support individuals” who show their commitment to literacy through their work or volunteer efforts. Since its inception, Mass Literacy has recognized and assisted over 80 Mass Literacy Champions. All the monies focus on groups, events and people who are dedicated to assisting those who need to improve their literacy skills.
Their mission is as follows: “Mass Literacy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting literacy education throughout Massachusetts. From children to adults, Mass Literacy works to achieve a fully literate population by empowering strong families, passionate teachers and a literate workforce.”
As a nonprofit organization, this program supports literacy in three ways: funding, advocacy, and education. Their website, Massliteracy.org, provides information about literacy resources and trainings for teachers, parents, families and volunteers. The blog includes feedback for educators, program administrators, support services, and parents.
The variety of the grant programs is extensive and includes so many avenues for supporting literacy. The areas include programs in preschools, public and school libraries, outreach programs, “free book” incentives, adult education, ESOL learning, mentoring programs, literacy coaching, and beginning reading for young children through adults. Throughout the state, these ‘champions’ are helping to ensure literacy is being addressed. Visit their website to learn more.
Connecting with Mass Literacy
So now, what can you do to get involved and support this program? It has been an extremely helpful funding resource to so many programs that address the need for literacy. If you’d like to help support this program, here are some suggestions:
- Share your events on their webpage -- they often share them on social media
- Tell people about the Mass Literacy Program and its resources
- Become a guest blogger and share your expertise with the literacy community - email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sign up for the Mass Literacy newsletter to watch for news about grants next year