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Toyota Launches Literacy Program for Hispanic and Other Immigrant Families in Orlando

Contributes $3 million to Expand Program to Five Additional Cities Nationwide
March 2, 2007 - Orlando - Toyota today announced that three Orlando elementary schools will be among the newest sites for its successful Toyota Family Literacy Program (TFLP). TFLP – the first nationwide program of its kind to focus on the needs of Hispanic and other immigrant families – is coordinated by the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL), the country's leading advocate for family literacy.

Toyota has contributed $600,000 to fund the program at Three Points Elementary School, Engelwood Elementary School and Meadow Woods Elementary School. All three schools are located in the Orange County Public School district, where the student population is 29 percent Hispanic, and 51 percent of all students are considered to be economically disadvantaged.

TFLP – which got its start in 2003 and is now functioning in 10 cities across the U.S. – aims to increase basic language and literacy skills among Hispanic and other immigrant families, and provide parents with the skills they need to help their children succeed in school. The program specifically serves children in kindergarten to third grade and their parents. TFLP is unique in that it incorporates NCFL's multicultural family literacy model, which combines key components including: ESL courses, early childhood education, parenting education, Parent and Child Together (PACT) activities, and computer-literacy instruction. Toyota has donated $26 million to the program since its inception.

In addition to the launch at these three schools, the funding will allow NCFL to provide comprehensive support for training, educational materials and assistance at each site. Orange County Public Schools is working hand-in-hand with NCFL to implement the family literacy program.

Besides Orlando, four other cities are part of the latest expansion of the family literacy program: Chula Vista, Calif., Wichita, Kan., San Antonio, Texas, and Winston-Salem, N.C. A total of 155 school districts submitted applications for the five spots, all vying for part of the overall $3 million grant from Toyota.

"A grant of this magnitude has an impact that reaches far beyond the walls of these three schools," said Ronald Blocker, superintendent, Orange County Public Schools. "When students and parents increase literacy skills, the result is a positive outcome for their schools and communities. We are especially grateful to the Toyota Family Literacy Program for opportunities provided to families at Engelwood, Meadow Woods and Three Points elementary schools."

Early results from the TFLP programs already implemented include:
• Significant literacy gains by adults, the majority of which improved their literacy scores by one or more levels
• Ratings for children in the program that exceeded peers in areas including academic performance, motivation to learn, attendance, classroom behavior, involvement in classroom activities, and other areas
• 70% of participating families holding a library card by the end of the first year
• Waiting lists at the majority of program sites due to high demand

"Partnering with Toyota, NCFL has nurtured a proven formula of research and delivery of family literacy services that not only works for the participants, it works for the betterment of the communities," said Sharon Darling, president and founder of NCFL. "And, we're proud to say, our path to success here in Orlando has been set by the impressive gains made by thousands of TFLP participants in family literacy programs throughout the nation."

"Through the efforts of NCFL, The Toyota Family Literacy Program has already proven successful in reaching thousands of families in diverse communities across the country," said Patricia Pineda, group vice president, legal, philanthropy and administration at Toyota Motor North America. "We're thrilled to bring the program to Orlando and we look forward to making even more positive and lasting contributions to students and families."

The National Center for Family Literacy was established by Sharon Darling in 1989 with a grant from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust. For the past 17 years, NCFL has pioneered educational initiatives that open pathways to continuous life improvement for the nation's most at-risk children and families. The organization has supported more than 150,000 teachers and thousands of volunteers, leading to positive gains for more than 1 million families. To learn more, call 1-877-FAMLIT-1 or visit Home - National Center for Family Literacy.

Since 1991, Toyota and NCFL have forged successful programs to promote family literacy in the United States. Toyota has contributed $26 million to help NCFL establish family literacy model programs throughout the country. Today, the Toyota/NCFL partnership accounts for nearly 211 family literacy sites in 38 cities and 26 states. As part of this partnership, the Toyota Family Literacy Teacher of the Year award has been presented annually since 1997 and recognizes individual teachers' contributions to improving literacy among youth and adults. Additional information on Toyota's commitment to improving education nationwide is available at About Toyota: Community Care -- Education -- Education.
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