Seven families recently graduated from Lead With Literacy’s third cohort of its Macon Family Time program. The event was held at the Bloomfield-Gilead Recreation Center on Rocky Creek Road, and it was more than just a ceremony. It was a complete evening of fun and food with a Family Game Night theme. The families played games, took photographs, and received a certificate and a gift before eating dinner together.
“Our favorite part of the program that we completed was the discussion jar. Literally every night when we have dinner [the children] want to pull out the discussion jar,” said recent graduate Mrs. Hicks. “I enjoyed being with other parents, hearing their advice, and knowing you’re not alone.”
“Literacy is at the core of everything a child and a family need to be successful in school and life,” says Mayor Lester Miller. “This has been amazing to see so many families in three cohorts give up so many of their Friday nights to become stronger together.”
29 people (9 adults and 20 children ages 2-16) met every Friday evening for eight weeks for two hours at the Center to complete the program. Each session began with dinner and discussions followed by separate skills classes for adults and youth. The classes incorporated engaging hands-on activities, interactive games, and group discussions on topics relevant to todays’ families. During the family activity, coaches provided test taking strategies for students and tips to help parents prepare them for the Georgia Milestones Testing. Families also received a Book of the Week to add to their home library.
“Once I got here, I enjoyed and the children enjoyed it; the experience was very rewarding,” said recent graduate Mrs. West. “We did enjoy coming every Friday night. We’re going to enjoy rereading all the books we got this summer.”
“Our family coaches work with parents and children to help them develop happier family relationships, increase shared reading time, improve mental health outcomes, decrease youth alcohol, and drug use, violence, and delinquent behavior,” says Tamika Withers with Lead With Literacy. “Building stronger families through literacy is the heart of this program.”
“Reducing violent crime in our community is going to take years of work, focusing on every child and every family who reaches out to us,” adds Mayor Miller. “It’s up to us to make sure we’re there for them, wherever they need us.”
Macon Family Time was funded through Macon-Bibb County’s Macon Violence Prevention (MVP) program and the Community Foundation of Central Georgia. Lead with Literacy received a $40,000 grant to implement this program, which is designed to engage families in meaningful reading and learning activities.
About the Macon Violence Prevention Program
More than $800,000 was granted to 25 nonprofit and faith-based organizations to put in place programs and efforts to reduce violent crime; each goal they are trying to meet was made by the nearly 2,000 people through forums and surveys on what our neighborhoods need. Those outcomes are outlined in the MVP Strategic Plan, and the full list of organizations and programs can be found by clicking here. Organizations were selected through an application and review process led by the Community Foundation of Central Georgia. The second round of grants will be announced in early June.
“The solution to violent crime in our community will be found in all of us working together on the same team,” explained Mayor Lester Miller. “The fact that more than 50 organizations came to the table with good ideas and applied for MVP grants shows that the people of our community are committed to this historic effort. If we continue to work together, we will create a safer, stronger community now and for future generations.”
Macon Violence Prevention is an evidence-based, multifaceted program created to address public safety in Macon-Bibb County. Supported and funded by the consolidated government, MVP is a community-wide effort that brings together elected officials, community leaders, agencies, organizations, and departments.
The MVP program operates under the guidance of the MVP Strategic Plan, which was created by community stakeholders and violent crime experts. It combines data and research with community feedback to implement proven solutions that reduce violent crime and strengthen the community over time.