Waukegan Public Library announces Family Literacy scholarship winner

The Waukegan Public Library is proud to announce Erik Carey as the Carol Morris Scholarship winner of 2012-13. The $1,000.00 scholarship is given each year to one or more students enrolled in the library’s Families Learning Together Family Literacy program. The award money helps family literacy graduates transition to secondary education at the College of Lake County and can be used for tuition, books, and childcare.

33 year old Carey started attending the classes with his nine-month-old son Ezra at Zion-Benton Public Library in January. Through the classes, Carey wanted to learn how to teach his son to read and be successful in school, and also obtain his own GED. “I had started classes several times, but never finished the process,” said Carey. “It was this last December that my father-in-law told me that the Zion Library was holding GED classes, hosted by the Family Literacy program. With their help, I have finally finished! Now the future does not seem so bleak and I feel that I can take on the world. However, it does not stop there. I want to be a good example to my son and go to college.”

Each year, one student from the program is awarded the scholarship during the GED graduation ceremony at the College of Lake County. The scholarship is named after Carol Morris, who was the Literacy Manager at Waukegan Public Library for 25 years. Morris was instrumental in initiating the literacy volunteer program, launching family literacy classes, and developing and managing grants at the library. For over 25 years, Morris has been an Adjunct Literacy Instructor at the College of Lake County.

Families Learning Together is a family literacy program presented by Waukegan Public Library in partnership with the College of Lake County and Literacy Volunteers of Lake County. The program offers three different types of classes, each allowing the parents to address their literacy needs, while their children, ages 0 – 6 years, develop their emerging literacy skills. Literacy level classes help parents improve their reading, writing and math; ESL family literacy classes help parents learn speak and read in English; and GED level family literacy classes prepare parents to earn their GED. While the parents’ needs are being addressed, the children are in a fun, engaging learning environment. In addition, parents learn to use the internet, discuss parenting topics, and learn how to teach their child how to read.

Through the support of libraries in surrounding communities, the program is also offered at Zion-Benton Public Library, North Chicago Public Library and Round Lake Area Library. All of the programs include the five family literacy components: adult education, library services/computers, parenting, children’s education and Parents and Child Together (PACT).

“Earning the GED has and will improve my life by increasing my confidence and opening opportunity to further my education, which will aide in obtaining a career,” said Carey, who lives in Winthrop Harbor.

If you are interested in enrolling in the Families Learning Together family literacy program at any of the sites or are interested in any of Waukegan Public Library’s literacy programs, call (847) 623-2041, ext. 222 for more information.