Lead With Literacy’s Macon Family Time Program Promotes Family Bonding and Literacy in Community

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Lead With Literacy launches a new cohort of its Macon Family Time program, aimed at strengthening family bonds and promoting literacy among participating families. The initiative, which kicked off last week, welcomes 13 families to John R. Lewis Elementary School every Wednesday evening for an 11-week session from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Concurrently, another cohort gathers at the Bloomfield-Gilead Recreation Center every Monday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Tamika Withers from Lead With Literacy explains the program’s goals, stating, “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. Building stronger families through literacy is the heart of this program.”

Macon Mayor Lester Miller emphasizes the importance of literacy, stating, “Literacy is at the core of everything a child needs to be successful in school and life. Thank you to Lead With Literacy for helping families improve their children’s abilities and grow closer together throughout the process.”

The program format includes family dinners and discussions, followed by separate skills classes for adults and youth. Sessions incorporate interactive activities, games, and group discussions relevant to modern families. Coaches also provide test-taking strategies for students and tips to help parents prepare them for the upcoming Georgia Milestones Testing. Additionally, families receive a Book of the Week to enrich their home library.

Funding for the Macon Family Time program is provided by Macon-Bibb County’s Macon Violence Prevention (MVP) program and the Community Foundation of Central Georgia. Lead with Literacy secured a $50,000 grant for program implementation. Highly trained family coaches facilitate the sessions to enhance parenting skills, promote reading, and foster literacy skills among participants.

Mayor Miller underscores the community’s commitment to long-term efforts to reduce violent crime, stating, “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. It’s up to us to make sure we’re there for them, wherever they need us.”

About the Macon Violence Prevention Program  

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 and representatives from more than 20 agencies, organizations, and departments. It has been credited as a central reason the homicide rate dropped by 43% in one year.  

The MVP program operates under the guidance of the MVP Strategic Plan, which was created in June of 2021 by community stakeholders and violent crime experts. The plan combines data and research with community feedback to identify and implement proven solutions that reduce violent crime and strengthen the community over time.  

In its first two years, Macon-Bibb and the Community Foundation of Central Georgia have awarded more than $1.6 million to 56 local nonprofit organizations that have identified proven or innovative solutions to reducing violent crime.  

“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 so many people have stepped forward shows that our community is committed to this historic effort. If we continue to work together, we will create a safer, stronger community now and for future generations.”