New York State Even Start Family Literacy


Online Guide for Administrators


Community Interaction and Outreach - Questions and Answers

Q7-1: Who are the key stakeholders in Even Start Family Literacy?

Key stakeholders in Even Start Family Literacy are families and schools, as well as local community agencies. Specific community agencies will differ from program to program.

For more information:

     Examples of key stakeholders

Q7-2: How do I reach out to the school district?

Connection to the area elementary school is perhaps the most crucial of all community relationships. Even Start Family Literacy staff should request permission to make presentations at faculty and grade-level meetings, join Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) teams, and participate in staff development sessions. Because there is always staff turnover, new presentations and contacts must be made each year. 

Family educators should reach out to the teachers of the children in the families they serve. Teachers who see the positive effects of Even Start Family Literacy, such as children who are better prepared for school and learning, are often the program's best advocates. 

Q7-3: How can I "spread the word" about Even Start Family Literacy to potential families and community partners?

Outreach and "PR" are ongoing. Other strategies to consider are to:

  • Explain the Even Start Family Literacy program to staff of local agencies and enlist their support in recruiting families and providing social services. Consider presenting at faculty conferences, advisory board meetings, principals' conferences, Parent/Teacher Association meetings, Pre-K orientations, school board meetings, etc.

  • Invite representatives from collaborating groups to be a part of your advisory board or program board. Include them on your mailings so they are sure to receive notice of special programming.

  • Participate in groups and committees serving youth or low-income families in your community.

  • Post flyers in places frequented by potential Even Start Family Literacy families. Be sure PR materials are printed in native languages as well as in English.

  • Ask schools, places of worship, pediatricians, and other community agencies to display and/or distribute Even Start Family Literacy brochures. 

  • Ask radio and television stations popular with potential families to air public service announcements or paid advertising. 

  • Send press releases to local newspapers.

  • Set up a table at community events, such as neighborhood festivals, and at WIC food distribution sites. Make available "give-aways" (t-shirts, pencils, pouches, children's literature, etc.) so that visitors to the table go away with something on which is printed the name of, and contact information for, the program. 

  • Develop and distribute a program newsletter. Ask collaborating agencies to run photos and articles about Even Start Family Literacy in their newsletters.

  • Hold open houses. Invite the community, stakeholders, and the press to attend.

Your families are your best PR. Families frequently refer friends and relatives to Even Start Family Literacy. You can work with families to help them become more formal spokespersons for your program. They will learn valuable public speaking skills and gain confidence. The stories they share will garner interest and captivate audiences. Don't forget to share photos (with permission) of actual participants to help put a face to your program.


Q7-4: How do I attract families to my program?

To be effective, recruitment must be an intensive effort conducted on a continuous and consistent basis. Well-placed flyers can be an important tool in recruitment; school personnel and social service providers can be important allies. Both can help spread the word of the availability and benefits of your program. 

When recruiting families, it's important to emphasize these key messages: 

  • Even Start Family Literacy is a family-centered, long-term, intensive program that focuses on literacy. 

  • The program is intended for the whole family. 

  • Curricula and activities are based on family members' goals and needs. 

  • The skills parents learn through Even Start Family Literacy will contribute to their children's success in school.

The Guide to Quality is an excellent resource for ideas and suggestions on recruitment, noting several quality considerations. Marketing Your Adult Literacy Program: A "How To" Manual also provides information on recruitment, but within the context of social marketing. 

Social marketing is an exchange process in which the provider offers programs or products of value to the client, so that the client's quality of life is changed and moved toward a more positive, self-sufficient direction. In the case of Even Start Family Literacy, the program offers services such as adult education classes and age-appropriate education for children in exchange for families' time and commitment, which are the families' valuables. 

For more information:

Guide to Quality

Marketing Your Adult Literacy Program: A "How To" Manual

Examples from local programs

Q7-5: What does collaboration do for families?

Successful collaboration results in Even Start Family Literacy families' increased ability to access important community services. Family educators play an important role in helping families identify needed services, find appropriate assistance, and integrate the services provided by multiple agencies.


Q7-6: Where can I access additional information on recruitment and retention?


Recruitment and Retention: A Social Marketing Perspective provides an overview of social marketing principles, research on adult learner persistence, and program strategies for recruitment and retention. This paper provides the structure for a brief professional development opportunity. This document may be accessed at


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Hudson River Center for Program Development, Inc.