The Transition Network

Philadelphia Chapter Event

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All Attendees:$5

Philadelphia Chapter Event: Commitment to Literacy

Wednesday, September 22, 2021, 4:30‑6pm EDT
Location: Virtual Event via Zoom
Registration Deadline: Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Contact: Julie Currie

TTN’s Philadelphia Chapter  and the TTN Philadelphia Giving Circle will be presenting a program on the literacy initiatives that three organizations, including two Giving Circle grantees, are undertaking to address the link between literacy and poverty.

Over 20% of adults in Philadelphia lack basic literacy skills compared to the national average of 14%

Philadelphia is the poorest big city in the nation, and 40% of those living in poverty do not have a high school degree.

2 in 5 Philadelphia third graders are poor readers.

Studies have shown a direct correlation between literacy and job attainment and ability to move out of poverty

In light of this issue facing our city, TTN’s Philadelphia Chapter will be presenting a program on the literacy initiatives that three organizations, including two Giving Circle grantees, are undertaking to address the link between literacy and poverty.

TREE HOUSE BOOKS: Recipient of one of the 2021 Giving Circle Grants for $25,000. Learn about the successful Literacy Programs with young students in North Philly such as their Summer Slide Program which is now in full swing.

Hear how they plan to spend the Grant money by following their young tutees as they age

  • Black Girls Club: Girls self- select into Groups, read together, write together, do media posts, and Blogs on the subject of Growing up.

  • Leadership Cohort: Coed Group working on leadership, job readiness, and library skills. They also learn to teach the younger students and receive a stipend to be part of this group.

ACHIEVE NOW: Thirteen TTN Volunteer Coaches worked with First Graders from the Philadelphia School System,  individually, helping them learn essential reading skills  

Coaches are provided with a script so no previous experience teaching reading is necessary. The coaches work with the same student for an entire school year, building a relationship that allows the reinforcement of literacy skills. Learn how you can volunteer for this program.

WHY NOT PROSPER: Recipient of the other 2021 Giving Circle Grant for $25,000. Learn about the specific and structured program that Reverend Michelle Simmons provides for the women returning from prison and reentering society. Find out how Reverend Simmons plans to use the Grant Money to expand the number of women she can serve and expand her technological footprint.


Hear about Reverend Simmons’ plans to expand to Harrisburg and build a retreat house in the Poconos.

Learn about the new literacy initiatives that will be implemented in the Fall/Winter of 2021. Hear from Josanne Ford,who will do the literacy testing that will provide the information to create an Adult Basic Education Program that will give the women the skills to take the GED, which is required for them to get off Probation.

Learn how you can volunteer to be a tutor for one of these women as they prepare for the GED.

Find out about the sewing initiative that will provide each woman with a pillow case, possibly a quilt and a wall hanging, where their accomplishments in this tutoring effort will be displayed.

Speaker Bios

Sabriaya Shipley, Program Director at Tree House Books
Focused on storytelling, equitable literacy, and arts education as contributions to the advocacy of creative spaces for Black and Brown youth.

Shawn Kairschner, Executive Director at Achieve Now
Shawn is an experienced educator with a sustained history of passionate teaching, engaged leadership, and forward-thinking curriculum development. Before coming to Achieve Now, Shawn held teaching positions at Temple University, Villanova University, and Williams College, where he was recognized for his innovative teaching. As a liaison for Stanford University's renowned Center for Teaching and Learning, he provided customized teaching services and rigorous classroom observations and analyses, and conducted pedagogy workshops focused on specific teaching strategies, recommending unique situational learning approaches. He is thrilled to be leading an organization dedicated to making a lasting contribution to children's lives.


Reverend Michelle Simmons Chief Executive Officer at Why Not Prosper
Rev. Dr. Michelle Anne Simmons is the Founder and currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of Why Not Prosper. She was formerly incarcerated and is a recovering addict. She is an extraordinary role model for women. In 2008, Michelle graduated from Chestnut Hill College with a bachelor’s degree in Human Services and December 2010 she graduated with a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. She is also a Certified Allied Addictions Practitioner and a Certified Domestic Violence Counselor. In addition, she received her Doctorate in Ministry from Friends International Christian Academy.

Josanne Ford from Covenant Training Services
Josanne Ford is an alumnus of St. Joseph’s University with a bachelor’s degree in Information Systems and a master’s degree in Training and Organizational Development. She has over 19 years’ experience in the education industry. As an educator Josanne’s experience includes teaching for over 10 years and 9 years as an education director. Josanne’s past projects have ranged from designing and conducting instructional training classes for faculty and providing technical and soft skills training for various nonprofit and faith-based organizations. She assisted in the development of a health information technology curriculum for approval by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and developed policy and procedures for education institutions and nonprofit organizations.

Josanne is currently retired and spends her time creating an online learning academy that provides health and technology training for women who need a second chance in life.

‚ÄčZoom link will be provided in advance.

Material from, 01:33:04 October 21, 2021.
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