Twin Cities child literacy group plans expansion

- A unique Twin Cities non-profit is helping give children the literacy skills they need to be successful in school and life.

The organization is called the Network for the Development of Children of African Descent. It's based out of St. Paul, but meets in different places across the metro.

This is the 20th anniversary, and the group wants to expand to help more families.

6-year-old Bryce Ballard is only in kindergarten and can already read. He's uses a trick called chunking to sound out words.

He's learned it all at Sankofa, an after-school literacy program focusing on students Kindergarten through eighth grade who are struggling with reading in school. Students are assessed and then get an individual reading plan for nine weeks. 

Founder and Executive Director of NDCAD, Gevonee Ford, has accolades all the way from the White House for being a "Champion of Change" and Governor Dayton even awarded his community based education work. 

Ford says children average a two to five level reading increase.

He says many children come to the program not believing they can do it, but by the end of the program they believe in themselves.

Parent Kimberly McKinzie is a part of the Parent Power program. She's learning how to help her 4-year-old son read and learning skills to help her with her job, home buying advice and tips for a successful life.  

"I'm gaining positivity and doors are opening up as I'm learning new things.  Hopefully I can start a business one day," she said.

NDCAD opens its doors each Saturday for any child to pick five free books at its library. Fourth grader Danyel White is thankful this program taught her how to comprehend words.

Ford is trying to meet demand and needs more space. He also wants to make more community partnerships to expand in North Minneapolis. If you'd like to help NDCAD check out ndcad.org.


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