Community involvement and partnerships
A quality family literacy program views itself as a vital part of a
community, able to meet the learning needs of families most
effectively when working closely within a network of family support
agencies with similar values and goals.
Ask yourself how these statements apply to your program.
Our family literacy program/agency…
- works continually to raise the overall level of awareness of family literacy
needs and issues in the community.
- identifies through community needs assessment and ongoing informal
networking, potential collaborators for time-limited joint projects and
potential long-term partners for sustained program delivery.
- delivers presentations to community agencies and groups to provide an
overview of family literacy, outlines the needs in our community and how this
program works to meet those needs, and indicates where further support is
- is clear about our own reasons for wanting to work with other agencies,
recognizing that partnerships:
- may ultimately be more efficient and cost-effective
- allow for more effective sharing of resources and expertise
- improve accessibility for program participants
- impress (and may even be required by) funders
- involve more people in building community
- strengthen the whole community
- systematically develops relationships with other social service agencies,
referral sources and educational programs, to increase understanding of
each other’s work, avoid duplication of services, and explore possibilities for
- understands that laying the foundation for partnerships and maintaining
strong working collaborations requires a lot of time, effort and resources.
- seeks to collaborate with agencies that share our values, are committed to
principles of community development, and will involve families in all aspects
of program development.
- approaches potential partners with carefully considered suggestions and
requests that clearly outline how everyone involved would benefit from the
- meets with potential partners to discuss details about what is needed and
what each agency is willing or able to provide (including administrative,
concrete expertise and information, materials and resources, and other
- negotiates partnerships and develops written partnership agreements to
ensure everyone is clear about various roles and responsibilities, what may or
may not be shared, and where there is and is not any flexibility.
- involves “power players” in each partner agency (including board members,
committee chairs and executive directors) to ensure that the organization
fully understands the need for its involvement and commitment.