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Montgomery College Foundation Receives Grant for Language Literacy Program

Program Aims to Help ESOL Students Build English Language Skills of their Children

The Montgomery College Foundation was awarded a grant for nearly $50,000 through the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy Fourth Annual Maryland Grant Competition. The funds will go toward the “Side by Side: English and Spanish Dual Language Literacy Program,” which will teach adult English Language learners how to successfully transfer the language skills they are learning at Montgomery College, to their pre-K children and better prepare them to begin school.

This year, the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy awarded a total of $431,028 to 10 Maryland programs. Ranging in size from $24,853 to $50,000, the winning grant applications were chosen from among a variety of grant proposals from nonprofit organizations and public institutions.

The Side by Side program will serve 10 limited English proficient Hispanic families and include in-home instruction, homework and group activities to build intergenerational reading, writing and speaking skills in both English and Spanish. The program will assist families who have children under age five and who have one or more adults enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESOL) classes at Montgomery College. The program will be run by the College’s Workforce Development and Continuing Education division.

“The Side by Side program will empower our ESOL students to help their own children with their education,” said Dr. Betty McLeod, program director of Side by Side. “Our goal is to respect the value of their home language of Spanish, while building the English language skills necessary to participate in the larger community and workforce.”

Since Barbara Bush launched her foundation in 1989, it has awarded over $30 million to nearly 650 family literacy programs in 48 different states and the District of Columbia. In addition to its national grant program, the Foundation also has four statewide initiatives in Maine, Texas, Florida, and now in Maryland.

“We’re confident that these 10 programs will make important contributions to the literacy of the families in their communities. All of our work involves the parent or primary caregiver as well as the child, because we believe strongly that the home is the child’s first school, and the parent is the child’s first and most important teacher,” said Doro Bush Koch, founder of the Maryland Initiative of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.”

Grant winners of this year’s Maryland competition were announced at the Foundation’s fifth annual Maryland Celebration of Reading, which was held at The Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda on May 13. The money raised at the celebration funds the grants awarded by the family literacy initiative. Hosted by Doro Bush Koch, the evening featured bestselling authors Ron Hall and Denver Moore, Jim Nantz, Marcus Luttrell and Jeanette Walls, as well as special guests former President George H.W. Bush and Mrs. Barbara Bush.

The nine other Maryland grant recipients are: Crossway Community, the Family Literacy Program of the Literacy Council of Prince George’s County, YMCA of Metropolitan Washington Youth and Family Services, Housing Authority of Baltimore City, HEAL Inc., Cumberland YMCA Family Support Center, Queen Anne’s County Board of Education/Sudlersville Even Start Family Literacy Program, Friends of the Family and The Community College of Baltimore County.

For more information about the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and its work, please visit the Foundation’s website at

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