Timothy Moore
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Toyota Family Learning Program Expands to Plano

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Toyota is currently in the process of establishing a permanent headquarters in Plano, Texas. Previously, the American HQ for the world’s largest automaker was located in Torrance, California. Construction is expected to be completed on the new location in 2017.

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But it’s not just a business investment that Toyota is making in the Plano area; it’s also an educational investment. In partnership with the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL), Toyota is expanding its Toyota Family Learning program to two new schools in Plano—Plano Family Literacy and Sigler Elementary. Toyota and NCFL have been partnering for 25 years now, delivering educational programs to more than 2 million families throughout the United States since 1991.

This particular program, Toyota Family Learning, specifically targets ethnically diverse families and families with low income. The goal is to help parents and caregivers become more engaged in their children’s education. Guardians will learn technologies—and even the English language—to better teach their children at home after school hours.

One mother in the Plano area, Mireira Escobar, attends classes via the Toyota Family Learning program with her pre-school-age daughter, Maggie. According to Ms. Escobar, her life has improved dramatically because of the program: “My life is better now than it was before. At school, I practice my English; now, when I go to the store or talk to teachers, I am much more comfortable. It has helped my entire life—both at home and out in the community.”

Mireira Escobar and her daughter learn together through the Toyota Family Learning program in Plano

Mireira Escobar and her daughter learn together through the Toyota Family Learning program in Plano

Ms. Escobar is not alone. According to Toyota, independent evaluations demonstrated tremendous benefits from the program in 2015. A whopping 90% of participating parents noted increased engagement in their children’s education, and an even greater 96% reported being better teachers to their children. Even more remarkably, three-fourths of participating parents saw improvement in their own English language skills, and 34% landed better jobs.

Sharon Darling, president and founder of NCFL, remarked, “Toyota Family Learning makes an impact that will be seen and felt for decades to come. As parents and children are elevated through education and technology training, they realize they can make a difference in their own lives, as well as the community.”

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With the recent addition of Plano, the Toyota Family Learning program now serves 11 communities. Toyota promises to add four more this year, bringing the total to 15. The investment in Plano is funded by a three-year, $175,000 grant from Toyota and NCFL. Over the course of six years, Toyota will donate $10 million as part of its national education initiative. Since September of last year, more than 200 parents and children have enrolled in the program in Plano.