The Center for Children and Families in Louisiana Tech’s School of Human Ecology is doing its part to make sure everyone can read.

Literacy Interagency Consortium joined The Center for Children and Families in co-sponsoring a three-day State Family Literacy Conference at Tech in mid-November with approximately 75 family literacy workers/providers from all across Louisiana in attendance.

The event capped off with a banquet at the Student Center ballroom to recognize the progress made for family literacy in the state in recent years. Dee Scallan, an educator and children’s book author from Monroe, served as Mistress of Ceremonies for the banquet while State Representative Hollis Downs was the guest of honor.

Thanks to the efforts of Downs, along with Rep. Rick Gallot and Sen. Bob Kostelka, the Northeast Louisiana Family Literacy Consortium received $200,000 from the state this summer, marking the first time the program has ever gotten state funding.

Family Literacy is the new name of the old federal Even Start program, which aims to improve the educational opportunities of low-income families and is free to participants.

Early childhood education is provided for children up to eight years old while parents enrolled in the adult education program have the opportunity to earn a GED. The program features an integrated curriculum, in which children and parents learn together.

Ruston Daily Leader Publisher Rick Hohlt was recognized at the banquet for his work as an Even Start advocate. Regional director Kaye Sharbono credited Hohlt with for helping legislators understand how Even Start works and showing them first-hand the achievements of the program’s participants.

By T. Scott Boatright, News Bureau Writer

Written by Judith Roberts