LiLaC is Changing Lives!!!

LILAC Aims to Change Lives!
LiLaC (Literacy, Language and Cultural Centers) is a 501(c) 3 community benefit organization. Based in Desert Hot Springs, California, LiLaC is an evidenced-based home visitation program for families with young children, whose second language is English. Our mission is to build meaningful relationships with English Language Learner (ELL) families, with the goal of making visible their full potential as multilingual, literate contributors to society.

Connie Montgomery has a passion to change the lives of children and their families throughout this valley. A Doctoral graduate from (as she proudly proclaims) ‘The’ Ohio State University, she is the Executive Director of LiLaC (Literacy, Language, and Cultural Centers).

I had the honor of stopping by their headquarters earlier today, and was able to take a tour and ask a few questions. Of course, the first question was, “why”? Serving others can be an enormous task, and only those that know their “why” are able to do so passionately.

When asked about her why, she replied, “Positive early language and literacy development can give children a window to the world, helping to ensure that each child can seize his or her potential for future success. During the first 3 years of life, the brain undergoes its most dramatic development and children acquire the ability to think, speak, learn, and reason. When this early development is not nurtured, the brain’s architecture is affected and young children begin to fall behind.

Many low-income children arrive at school already behind in communication and language, a disadvantage that only persists over time. The literacy gap hinders our nation’s ability to create the workforce needed to compete in the global market and ensure future prosperity. Parents and early language and literacy professionals play a critical role in the development of a child’s early literacy skills. By supporting parents of young children, they reap significant dividends throughout a child’s entire scholastic career, and children are prepared to realize their full potential. “

Although the program reaches behind the borders of our city, I asked her how LiLaC impacts Desert Hot Springs exclusively.

“When parents participate in nurturing the language and literacy development of their children, their own literacy levels increase. Literate families have a foundation for gaining access to further education and competing in the workforce. As a result, they guide their children to discover educational opportunities that position them to give back to their community.”

She offered an amazing perspective concerning the approach many non English speaking parents have as it pertains to their child’s education.

“LiLaC nurtures parental development of school engagement.

Because many parents did not have an opportunity for an education in their home country, and because many have limited English, they feel intimidated by approaching teachers, attending conferences and other school activities. The LiLaC Home Visitor visits each family every week. Over time, a relationship of trust is built. As a result, when the child starts school, the Home Visitor often accompanies the parents to teacher conferences and other school events, to support their development of engagement with their child’s education. As a result, parents become advocates for their children and active participants in their child’s schooling.”

Earlier this year (March 10th), at the Day of Young Child event, LiLaC was presented with a certificate of recognition from State Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia.

A few success stories …..

Genesys Corado and Christopher Caro were identified for the Gifted and Talented Program (GATE) at the end of their second grade year. Their younger siblings, Esdras Corado and Johan Caro, were also identified for the GATE program at the end of their second grade year. Thanks to the parents, the impact of LiLaC continues through the family!

When you walk into the headquarters, you are greeted with a portrait that encompasses love, family, and success.

For more information about LiLaC please contact:

Connie Montgomery, Ph.D., Exec. Dir.
Literacy, Language & Cultural Centers (LiLaC), Inc.
760-251-7701

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