HOUSTON, March 6, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Guests of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy reminisced about the past and embraced the future of family literacy at an intimate luncheon celebrating the non-profit's 25th anniversary today in Houston. The guest of honor, the founder of the national non-profit, former First Lady Barbara Bush, was joined by her husband, President George H.W. Bush, national literacy champions, educators and dear friends— a group of the original leaders who attended her White House announcement luncheon on March 6, 1989 and helped to shape what would become her enduring legacy—pioneering the national family literacy movement in the U.S.
Doro Bush Koch, Mrs. Bush's daughter and Honorary Co-Chair of the Foundation, welcomed her parents and guests to the nostalgic event. She praised her mother's tireless advocacy efforts and passion to provide the nation's precious young children and their parents a chance to read and learn together, a crucial first step toward achieving the American Dream.
"My mother always said if more people were literate, we could be much closer to solving many problems that our country faces," said Bush Koch. "She made her literacy footprint by providing tens of thousands of families the opportunity to succeed in the classroom and in life. The Foundation has reached a huge milestone today and I am eager to continue inspiring moms, dads and their children to head down the journey of learning, just as my mother has done for so many years."
Other guests on hand to honor Barbara Bush included Jim Duffy, former president of ABC, Sharon Darling, president of the National Center for Family Literacy, Peter Waite, vice-president of Pro-Literacy, Jill Conner Browne, author of Sweet Potato Queens, and Norma Vargas, a parent-learner who attended a Houston family literacy program in 2001 with her young daughter.
"I couldn't be prouder of my mom and her leadership, even if I weren't her son," added Foundation Honorary Co-Chair Jeb Bush. "I think of her as the mother of family literacy and truly believe that a focus on family literacy is one of the greatest needs of our time."
The scene of the silver anniversary luncheon, held at the historic Julia Ideson Library, was the ultimate "Throwback Thursday," replicating Mrs. Bush's 1989 official announcement at a White House luncheon. The guest list included original attendees from the announcement event who enjoyed an identical menu of Supreme Chicken, rice pilaf and pear pithiviers with caramel sauce seated at tables adorned with pink and white rose centerpieces.
Today's luncheon commences a year-long series of special celebrations to commemorate this milestone and reflect Mrs. Bush's passion for family literacy. Find us on Facebook for flashbacks from the Foundation's 25 years of service and follow us on Twitter, @BarbaraBushFdt. Supporters can sign up for the Barbara Bush Foundation's e-News to learn about future anniversary event announcements or visit the Foundation's website at www.BarbaraBush.org.
Barbara Bush Foundation by the numbers:
- $50 million in grants awarded to 1200 family literacy programs and nearly 800 newly piloted Barbara Bush family scholarships
- Support literacy efforts in all 50 states
- Benefit 25,000 families by helping give children a jumpstart in their education and moms and dads a significant boost in their reading, writing, and, for some, English language skills
- 90% of preschool children who enter Barbara Bush Foundation programs at the lowest literacy levels end the school year on par with their peers and ready to enter kindergarten.
- Parents, on average, improve their literacy skills by 1.6 grade levels in just 9 months. They boost their math skills by 1.7 grade levels.
- Elementary school readers, who begin our mentoring program 7 months behind in reading, end the school year achieving a reading level gain of 1.14 years. And, 82% of our teen mentors are college bound, possessing improved leadership and community service skills.
About Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy
The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy is the nation's leading advocate for family literacy by supporting a lifetime of learning from birth to adulthood. As a national public charity established in 1989 by former First Lady Barbara Bush, the Foundation focuses simultaneously on early childhood education for preschoolers and adult literacy for their parents. As we mark our 25th anniversary this year, we are determined to provide more families in America with access to and choice of educational opportunities to obtain literacy skills. To learn more about the Barbara Bush Foundation or to join the movement, please visit www.BarbaraBush.org.
Contact: Elizabeth Hirst, 850-562-5300
SOURCE Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy