14 ideas to raise awareness -- What are yours? #AEFLWeek

Dear Colleagues,

National Adult Education and Family Literacy (AEFL) Week is September 22-28, 2014! What are some ideas you can use to raise awareness?

Each year I find myself faced with this question and never enough time to do all of the activities I’d like to do. So this year, I went to Twitter to see what had been done previously. Boy was I surprised at the level of activity. Nearly 400 tweets from 2013 and over a half million impressions! Not bad.

Here are a few ideas I gleaned from reviewing the #AEFLWeek tweets:

  1. Celebrate adult learner and adult educator success stories. Post them on your website, in the local paper, in hallway bulletin boards, etc.
  2. Partner with a local book store, share adult learner stories, hold a book signing with local authors and recruit literacy volunteers.
  3. Create a fundraiser web page to raise money for your program. See Crowdrise or Fundly as just two of many platform examples.
  4. Work with local policymakers to secure city a county resolution and hold a recognition event (See Tucson’s example).
  5. Make a pledge to use social media to raise awareness during the week. Tweet facts, post polls or petitions, share stories, start a new blog (see GALA’s example), use Pinterest, and more.
  6. Hold a job fair connecting adult learners to employment opportunities.
  7. Host a literacy forum on the intersections between adult and family literacy, poverty, health, immigration, and more. See Academy of Hope’s example.
  8. Educate advocates by holding an adult education advocacy day.
  9. Collect testimonials from local celebrities and policymakers and publish them on your website. Here’s one example from the National Coalition for Literacy.
  10. Hold an open mic poetry reading at the local coffee shop. Feature poems written by adult learners in your program.
  11. Use food! Hold literacy luncheons or breakfast and story time at your local bookstore or library.
  12. Partner with your local library to raise awareness of adult education and family literacy and the library’s role in it.
  13. Encourage adult learners to take children to the library that week, help with homework, read a book, and/or visit a bookstore. Encourage them to take photos to be displayed at your adult education program.
  14. Hold a press conference with a local policymaker at your program to kick off AEFL Week. See the South Baltimore Learning Center for examples.

BTW, the National Coalition for Literacy has published several case studies of awareness raising activities that include timelines for planning as well as tips. See the full publication here. (In the interests of transparency, I compiled the document a couple of years prior. I hope it is still useful to others in planning celebratory activities.)

What do you plan to do to raise awareness this year? What are your ideas or recommendations?

I look forward to hearing from you,

Jackie Taylor

Moderator, Evidence-based Professional Development Group

About National AEFL Week:

From the National Coalition for Literacy: National Adult Education & Family Literacy Week raises public awareness of adult education and family literacy, assists adult learners in need of literacy services, leverages local resources, and supports increased access to adult education and family literacy programs. Use this opportunity to elevate adult education and family literacy nationwide with policymakers, the media, and the community.



Dear Colleagues:

National Adult Education & Family Literacy Week is well under way and many exciting activities are happening across the country. COABE is celebrating by featuring success stories of adult students and teachers from each region of the country. Please take a look in COABE's Student Showcase.

Also, the National Coalition for Literacy is compiling the happenings on their newly redesigned website and social media users are raising awareness by tweeting and posting using the #AEFLWeek hashtag. Please share what you're doing to raise awareness of adult education and family literacy with your national associations / affiliations. Or, feel free to post them here in our online COP -- I would enjoy reading about the good work you are doing and I'm sure others would as well.

Thanks and Happy AEFL Week!

Jackie Taylor