Through its micro-initiative program in support of local development, the Air Liquide Foundation is supporting the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH) in its fight against illiteracy in Louisiana.
The Air Liquide Foundation is supporting the rollout of LEH’s Prime Time Family Reading Time program with a grant of $14,000 for educational materials. The materials will be distributed statewide, including the cities of Geismar and Norco, and will benefit approximately 1,000 children and their families in 2012.
In the state of Louisiana, 80 percent of 9-to-13-year-old students read below grade level. This situation results in poor academic performance for these children and high drop out rates. Without the basics of a high school diploma, these young people will face greater challenges finding employment opportunities.
The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, a not-for-profit organization based in New Orleans, engages in multiple community activities to reduce functional illiteracy. The Prime Time program, which focuses on at-risk children, has developed a holistic approach that includes families. Based on the principle that the cultural divide begins in the household, LEH and the Air Liquide Foundation have decided to make these families a priority.
The program consists of weekly meetings spread out over six to eight weeks, in libraries or schools. During these sessions, reading time is followed by group discussions on ethical or cultural subjects. A renewed interest in reading and culture is thus transmitted to the entire family, a critical factor for better academic results. Between 1991 and 2009, the LEH funded 5,000 Prime Time programs in Louisiana, reaching out to over 20,000 participants.
The Air Liquide Foundation provides opportunities for Group employees to get involved in community activities and to participate and help evaluate philanthropic projects supported by the Foundation. To that end, an Air Liquide employee is involved in this LEH project evaluation and follow-up.