Blue Ridge Literacy Council has received a $5,100 grant from United Way and Community Foundation’s Henderson County COVID-19 Response Fund that will help provide remote support for their Family Literacy Program. The generous grant is being used to purchase activity kits and subscriptions to a family activity magazine that will be distributed to the Literacy Council’s families with young children. A portion of the grant is also being used to hire staff that is helping facilitate the Family Literacy program.

“We are very grateful for United Way of Henderson County and Community Foundation of Henderson County for recognizing the importance of creative family engagement measures during these unforeseen times,” says Literacy Council Interim Executive Director Jan Lanier.

The Literacy Council is thankful to be able to hire Guadalupe Aguilar Gaona who will help facilitate the Family Literacy Program. Guadalupe has been serving as an intern with the Council since October of 2019. She attends Innovative High School and is enrolled in Early College classes in Blue Ridge Community College’s Early Childhood Education Department. When social distancing ended the Literacy Council’s school-based Family Literacy program in March, Guadalupe began supporting Literacy Council families by helping parents connect to the technology needed for their children’s classes and the parents’ own English Language classes. She has also been producing a series of bilingual videos for families which are published on YouTube and BRLC’s Facebook page. The videos are trauma-informed and provide guidance for parents on how to discuss COVID-19, ease fear and anxiety, as well as engage in fun family activities while staying at home.

“The Family Literacy Program is here to help families whenever they need it, and it’s always fun being involved in the activities the program has brought to life,” shared Guadalupe. “The videos have been one of the ways we have been able to interact with the parents and children and it’s always great hearing the feedback we get when they are uploaded.”