From a Lemonade Stand to the F.U.L.L. Program
By Yolanda Spivey
Ty Allan Jackson didn’t know his life was going to take a different turn when his son made $50 from a lemonade stand he opened one spring day. After earning money from the make- shift stand, his son didn’t know what to do with the profits. So Ty Allan took his son to a bank where they deposited the funds and the next thing you know, Big Head Books was born. Ty Allan wrote about his son’s experience with investing money in several fictional books, (all of which can be found on his website).
This has also led Ty Allan to opening an institution-based program called F.U.L.L. – Families United through the Love of Literacy. The F.U.L.L. program uses literacy and multi-media tools to reunite prisoners serving short term prison sentences with their children and families. “In this program, we video record the incarcerated parent reading one of our books and ship the DVD, a customized book and t-shirt to their children,” says Ty Allan.
According to the Department of Justice, there are 2.3 million people in federal, state and local prisons. More than 700,000 are released nationally from state and federal prisons each year and more than nine million from local jails. The three-year recidivism rate nationally is 50 percent. “Our goal is to increase the literacy rate amongst incarcerated inmates and their children, while reducing the recidivism rate in our country,” states Ty Allan.
The Department of Justice recognizes that there is a direct link between academic failure, delinquency, violence and crime because of people’s failure to read. As it stands now over 70 percent of inmates in America’s prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level, and two-third who cannot read proficiently usually end up in jail or on welfare.
The F.U.L.L. program allows incarcerated parents to read to their children through a five step program. And the program is quite successful. Ty Allan states that inmates enrolled in a literacy program have a 16 percent chance of returning to prison opposed to 70 percent of those who receive no support at all.
For more information on the F.U.L.L. program, please visit www.bigheadbooks.com/full-program