Welcome Jessica!

Jessica_Ward_Website_PictureJessica Ward is the Education & Event Coordinator for the Florida Literacy Coalition. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Oregon State University. After graduating she was accepted into Teach For America, which placed her in Jacksonville, Florida to teach at a low-income school. While in Jacksonville, she taught middle school science for three years. She is currently pursuing her Master’s of Public Administration and a Nonprofit Management Certificate from the University of Central Florida. In her spare she enjoys cooking, reading, and being outdoors.

Welcome to FLC John Sanchez!

John Sanchez

My name is John and I’ll be joining FLC this year as an AmeriCorps VISTA.  I grew up on (not in) Long Island about an hour’s train ride from New York City. Prior to moving down to Florida, I graduated Stony Brook University with a B. A. in Music and in Spanish Language & Literature. While studying in school, I served as a volunteer adult literacy tutor on and off campus and worked with the New York Police & Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund as a Development Intern.  As for my life outside of work, I enjoy riding bikes, reading books, and playing board games.

My joining the FLC team is in many ways a combination of my passions for literacy education and the nonprofit sector.  In terms of my blog posts, I will mainly focus on financial, health, and digital literacy, providing you with relevant resources that you may use in your teaching. I will also be exploring other mediums of social media to share information with you! But I’ll have more on that in the coming weeks. As for now, I’m excited to begin my year at FLC and work with some of you in the future!

Career Pathways and the Florida Literacy Coalition

Career Pathways programs can train, educate, and transition students to the workforce or post-secondary education.  Choosing a career and related education program can be an intimidating and overwhelming process for learners. Volunteers can play a vital role in helping adult learners identify and prepare for a family sustaining career that is right for them.

The Florida Literacy Coalition is pleased to make available a new three module online course to prepare volunteers to assist and support students in the process of exploring their education and career options. This three-module course provides a systematic guide with tools and resources for volunteers interested in doing this important work. The first module introduces the importance of the role of the volunteer and relationship building with the student.  The second module delves deeper into Career Pathways and post-secondary planning for education or the workforce.  The final module reviews various types of job search and interview strategies.

On December 12th, the Florida Literacy Coalition will be offering a webinar to introduce several ways to use volunteers to promote Career Pathways.  This training we will discuss the Career Pathways modules, a sample position description, volunteer recruitment and retention, and developing partnerships. Register for this free webinar today!

Florida Health Literacy Initiative

2012-13 Florida Health Literacy Initiative Recipients

Florida Literacy Coalition is proud to partner with Florida Blue to make available targeted grants to promote health literacy. The goal is to provide health-education resources for local adult English for Speakers of Other Languages and family literacy programs so that students in these programs can make informed choices about their health and nutrition.

FLC is very proud of the projects that 2009, 2010 and 2011 grant programs have completed. Project-based learning is a power activity that engages and empowers students to utilize the information they learned in the classroom and apply it in a larger context.

During the 2011-2012 grant year:

New Beginnings (Flagler County Schools)
 coordinated with a local elementary school to plant, maintain, and harvest a vegetable garden. They used the fresh produce in healthy recipes and developed their own cookbook.

Students from Motivational Edge created and produced a rap regarding health knowledge and nutrition.

S.B. Idea developed a reference book about the health knowledge they learned and provided sample dialogues between providers and their patients.

Students from Florida State College at Jacksonville took favorite recipes, made healthy substitutions, and gathered to share them.

East and West Area Schools (Polk County Educational Foundation) created meal plans in small groups and included new healthy recipe options.

Here are some ideas you can do for a health literacy project at your organization!

  • Host a health fair, block party, or community bazaar partnering with community organizations to provide Body Mass Index education, blood pressure screenings, cholesterol checks, diabetes information, nutrition guidelines, etc.
  • Partner with an elementary school to grow a vegetable garden.
  • Have students make favorite family recipes using healthy ingredients, and develop a recipe book. Host a food tasting; get students to develop daily/weekly healthy menus to post on YouTube.
  • Invite the medical/safety community to present to the class: a doctor, a nurse, a dentist, a WIC representative, a diabetes specialist, a massage therapist, CPR affiliate, fire department, hospital.
  • Partner with a local gym to offer free short-term memberships to students with the possibility of scholarship assistance later on; invite a Zumba/aerobics instructor to create a fun video to distribute.


FLC Launches New Course to Train Volunteers to Support Career Pathways

Choosing a career and related credentialing program can be an intimidating and overwhelming process for learners.   While most of Florida’s public sector adult education providers have made real strides in integrating career pathways into their programs, volunteers remain a largely untapped resource for many of them.   Conversely, most of Florida’s community-based literacy organizations have a rich history in using volunteers, but may have questions on how to best support and guide students when it comes to this area.

The Florida Adult and Family Literacy Resource Center is pleased to announce the launch of a new online course to prepare volunteers to help adult learners explore their education and career options.   This three-module course provides an instructional framework with tools and resources for volunteers interested in doing this important work.

A recently released study, Student Voices on the Higher Education Pathway: Preliminary Insights & Stakeholder Engagement Considerations, reported on the opinions of current and former community college students about the expectations for and experiences in college.  The study found that students wanted more exposure to career possibilities so that they could make better-informed decisions.  Students were aware that colleges often offer a wide range of services, but they report that finding the specific information or services they need often required going on a “wild goose chase”.

One identified key to success was having access to someone who could offer support and guidance that is accurate and tailored to students’ education and career goals   A number of students described positive one-on-one experiences with teachers or other personnel who played an important role in helping them stay motivated and connected to oppor­tunities and their education goals.

Working with local programs, volunteers can be a wonderful resource to help fulfill this role, often bringing to the table relevant life experiences and industry expertise.  Most adult educators know how a little one-on-one guidance, support and encouragement can go a long way in helping learners to succeed.

The Volunteer Education and Career Advocate Course is freely available to all Florida adult education, literacy and family literacy programs.  Technical assistance in implementing the course and developing local career pathways volunteer projects is also available from the Florida Literacy Coalition.

Special thanks to our Career Pathways Advisory Committee the Florida Department of Education, Division of Career and Adult Education and AmeriCorps VISTA for making this course possible. 


New Happenings at FLC!

Many of you already know me…I (Yari Payne, education and training coordinator) will be guiding you through our social media channels until our next AmeriCorps VISTA joins us.

I asked our newest staff to send me a picture that represents them. Here’s an inside view on how they think.

Meet our newest staff additions…

Jennifer Caldron, Referral Specialist, grew up in Southern California where she graduated from Cerritos College with an A.A. in Business. She has a passion for education and tries to teach her niece and nephews that school/learning can be fun!  Jennifer enjoys spending time with friends and family and teaching her dog new tricks!

Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will.  ~Vernon Howard

Camille Davidson, AmeriCorps VISTA, is currently a graduate student studying International Higher Education and Nonprofit Management. She has been involved and employed in the fields of special education, disability, ESOL, and higher education for the past 10 years. Camille completed her Bachelor’s degree in Special Education at the University of North Florida and her Master’s Degree in TESOL at the University of Miami.

The picture is from a trip to Paris in 2011. It was taken outside of the golden gates of Versailles (the original was torn down during the revolution). My attempt to replicate the perspective of an impoverished citizen looking in on the luxuries of the palace.


Being involved with FLC and having a family that is touched by illiteracy every day, I understand the struggles and concerns that the support system feels. I am thankful of all the community based organizations and the thousands of volunteers who are there to help.

That’s why I’ve made a commit to read to my little one every night. AND she loves books!

This is a great opportunity to send us feedback about what you want to read or learn about.

Happy Financial Literacy Month from FLC pt. 2

Lesson Plan 2
I’m no expert on matters having to do with money, but I know where to find one! Check out the blog written by Ashley, at the money talks coaching website and you will start to sound like a pro too!

Making lesson plans for budgeting? Ashley calls “budget”  it the four letter word of personal finance.  I am such an avoider on the subject of money that I rarely use that nasty word.  It does not always work out however, and I have learned that just having a feeling that there is enough money to cover the bills does not trump logic and down to earth money management.   So here are some tips from Ashley’s budget blog  and some tools from the Florida Council on Economic Education to put some muscle on those boney budgets.

Florida Council on Economic Education Worksheets on Budgeting

Adult Learner Essays Wanted!

The Florida Literacy Coalition is proud to announce the launch of the 8th Annual Adult Learner Writing Campaign.  Students from throughout Florida are invited to submit original short stories, poems, or autobiographical narratives to be included in a published book that will debut at the 2012 Florida Literacy Conference.

The goal of this book is to allow adult learners the opportunity to build confidence while also improving their reading, writing, and critical thinking skills.  Organizational representatives can use this book as a way to promote how their programs are having a positive influence within their communities.

Adult learners and their tutors/teachers are encouraged to work together in writing, typing, editing, and submitting a written piece. We ask that completed essays be submitted along with the completed online form.

Submissions should be no longer than 475 words. Space in the book is limited and entries will be edited for readability. Authors can choose to remain anonymous or have a short biographical paragraph included with their submission.  Only one submission per adult learner is allowed. Each author who is included will be invited to the Florida Literacy Conference and will also receive a free copy of the book.

FLC welcomes essays from current or recent students enrolled in adult basic education, GED, adult literacy or family literacy programs located in Florida.  Please limit to one submission per adult learner.

Deadline for Submissions: March 5, 2012

Click here to see past books and websites for help. If you have any questions please contact Jonathan Cajigas at cajigasj@floridaliteracy.org or (407) 246-7110 x 201.

Quotes on Education and Literacy from Presidents

“Literacy is not a luxury, it is a right and a responsibility. If our world is to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century we must harness the energy and creativity of all our citizens.” -President Clinton


“A capacity and taste for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others.” and  “The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.” -President Lincoln

“A book is the most effective weapon against intolerance and ignorance.” – President L.B. Johnson

“Next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be permanently maintained.” -President Garfield

“Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.” and “Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.” -President Kennedy

“Literacy is the most basic currency of the knowledge economy we’re living in today.” President Obama