Waco Neighborhood Embraces Family Literacy Program

Oct. 22, 2003

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Since the first week in September, 78 parents and community members in the 40-block area around an inner-city Waco middle school have enrolled in LEAF (Learning English Among Friends), a joint family literacy project of the Baylor University Schools of Education and Social Work, GEAR UP Waco, Cesar Chavez Middle School, the Texas Baptist Literacy Missions Center and the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

From 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, at Cesar Chavez Middle School, 700 S. 15th St., media are invited to talk with parents; Dr. Randy Wood, Project LEAF director and professor of curriculum and instruction in Baylor's School of Education; Alfredo Loredo, principal of Cesar Chavez; Todd Becker, GEAR UP parental involvement coordinator; LEAF program coordinators and instructors; and Matthew Williams, GEAR UP director.

"LEAF is an exciting and encouraging program, and each Thursday we've seen the number of adult participants grow considerably as they learn to read, write and speak English," said Wood, who also serves as director of the Baylor Center for Christian Education. "Family members are bringing family members and neighbors are bringing neighbors as the community has truly embraced the program."

In January 2004, LEAF will expand its work to include students from the school who need more help with English, as well as a GED program for English speakers who want to obtain their high school equivalency diploma.

"LEAF has a multifold purpose, and one of those is getting parents interested in their own education. This also allows parents to have access to the school," Loredo said.

For more information, contact Wood at (254) 710-4944.

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