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At 9 am on Tuesday, February 15 at the Raleigh Public Library, 3452 Austin Peay Highway, leaders from the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee, Literacy Mid-South and the Church Home Board will come together to celebrate Literacy Mid-South receiving the latest Church Home Grant.
The more than $145,000 grant will allow Literacy Mid-South to implement their innovative educational programs for community partners, parents and students in the most vulnerable communities in Memphis, including Raleigh. This includes community-facing literacy resources and a focus on food insecurity.
While the Church Home Board has historically given grants to regional Episcopal ministries supporting youth and children, this is the first time it has awarded the grant to a community entity.
Established in 1870 by the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee (EDWTN), the Church Home Board originally served to address the needs of widows and orphans left vulnerable after the Civil War. Today, the Church Home foundation primarily funds ministries for children, youth, and young adults in the EDWTN, whose boundaries span from Memphis to Paris, Tennessee.
“Education and access are so important for the success of students and families in our communities especially given the challenges faced by students during the COVID pandemic,” said the Right Reverend Phoebe Roaf, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee. “I can’t wait to see how this grant will shape and serve some of our most underserved areas in Memphis.”
As part of a countywide partnership to improve education outcomes, Literacy Mid-South convenes the Out-of-School Time Collaborative Action Network (Network), which is comprised of nonprofit, out-of-school time providers, including Memphis Public Libraries and For The Kingdom. The Network is dedicated to sharing proven practices, participating in continuous quality improvement, and providing effective literacy interventions in after-school and summer programming for thousands of students across Shelby County.
Literacy Mid-South, in partnership with Stand for Children, are piloting literacy tools from Learning Ovations that provide yet another way to support educators, community partners and families.
These tools provide yet another research-backed resource to the Out-of-School Time Network and Memphis families: a common, accessible language for out-of-school programs and parents to provide data-informed, individualized literacy instruction to support children in their reading development and bolster the education students receive in the classroom.
“Literacy has the ability to dismantle inequitable conditions. Books transmit values and influence self-esteem in children,” said Sam O’Bryant, Executive Director of Literacy Mid-South. “To that end, Literacy Mid-South has a targeted focus on the Raleigh community to use these funds to empower family literacy and make a lasting impact. We are very grateful to the Church Home Fund for their generosity.”
This rollout puts Memphis in a position to be a national model for aligning cross-sector partners, education providers, and families towards a unified literacy goal and builds the critical infrastructure for future advocacy and investment in Memphis.