First Literacy grants are the bridge connecting innovative Adult Basic Education organizations to the financial resources they need to develop new and impactful programs and curriculum initiatives for adult learners. Through financial support, First Literacy empowers organizations to find different pathways for adult learners, helping them toward their educational dreams. This year, First Literacy funded eleven projects*.

Spotlighting Notre Dame Education Center

first-literacy-annual-report-2023-Notre-Dame-Environmental-Education-Grant-RecipientFunding innovative programs and projects makes it possible for organizations like Notre Dame Education Center (NDEC) to provide quality education and support to adult learners throughout the state of Massachusetts. Environmental Education for a Better Life was a transformative initiative led by the Notre Dame Education Center and proudly endorsed and supported by First Literacy.

Alisa, the Executive Director at NDEC, discovered the opportunities offered by First Literacy during a SABES (System for Adult Basic Education Support) workshop. Her decision to pursue funding from First Literacy was driven by the alignment of First Literacy’s and NDEC’s mission and values. The funding facilitated the development of a creative project that not only leveraged the skills of NDEC’s students but also enabled NDEC to compensate students for their expertise.

“We have been able to use what we learned through the First Literacy funded project to support other students to become leaders and staff members at NDEC.”

The unique project gave students the opportunity to create an ESOL curriculum focusing on environmental topics such as solid waste, energy, and water. The goal was to leverage the experience in mentoring student-teachers to guide and enhance the objective of assisting more adult education students in entering education.

Significant growth was found in the student-teachers as professionals. Despite being experienced in the field, they had not previously been able to showcase their proficiency in English or within an ESOL context. Student teachers Annie and Onsick reported …

“Before starting the course, we were really stressed about teaching in another language, and we had to find a way to manage all these emotions. And we found this extraordinary sentence that immediately worked: ‘Class, our objective is to talk about the environment in English without stress.’ Immediately, the student-teachers that we are, and the whole class expressed themselves freely and day after day our English improved considerably, we were no longer afraid to speak. If we were able to make all this progress, it is thanks to the project.”

NDEC aspires to continue enhancing the environmental curriculum, incorporating interactive exercises. With over 400 adult students impacted by this program, NDEC aims to further their goal of supporting even more adult learners in joining the field of Adult Basic Education. The success and positive impact from this program wouldn’t have been possible without the funding through First Literacy’s grant program.

*Please scroll to the bottom of the Grant Funded Projects page to view the 2022-2023 grant recipients. 

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