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November 8, 2007

Indiana organization wins Purdue's Inspiring Families award

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A literacy program in Noble County received the sixth Inspiring Families and Building Communities Award from Purdue's College of Consumer and Family Sciences.

LEAP - Literacy Empowering and Advocating Project - of Noble County Inc. in Albion, was selected to receive the award, which honors organizations that have a direct impact on the community and improve the lives of families. LEAP received a certificate and a $1,000 cash award at its board meeting on Monday (Nov. 5) from Karen DeZarn, assistant program leader for Purdue's Consumer and Family Sciences Extension.

"LEAP is a wonderful example of how collaboration within a community can truly make a difference for Hoosier families," said Dennis Savaiano, dean of the College of Consumer and Family Sciences.

Since 2000, LEAP of Noble County has conducted literacy programs to students of all ages. Programs have included one-on-one homework help and tutoring; adult learners can earn a graduate equivalency diploma in English or in Spanish; families can attend ENL classes and adult basic education classes couples with early childhood education, "Parent and Child Together Time" and parenting classes; and one school system's students in first through fifth grades can attend quality after-school programming four days each week provided by LEAP, Drug Free Noble County and the Purdue Extension Service.

Between July 2004 and February 2007, students spent 150,300 hours in LEAP education programs, an average of 4,700 hours each month. More than 75 percent of students who served in the Albion and Ligonier Learning Centers in the 2005-06 program year have demonstrated academic growth. First- through fifth-graders who served during the 2005-06 program year at the New DAWN after-school program demonstrated academic gains in math and reading. LEAP programs have provided a long-term economic benefit of more than $30 million to Noble County in the past seven years.

The Inspiring Families and Building Communities Award is made possible by Purdue alumnus Paul Zmola and the College of Consumer and Family Sciences. Zmola earned his bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees in mechanical engineering from Purdue in 1944, 1947 and 1950, respectively. Zmola also received the Friend of Purdue Award in 1992.

Zmola's devotion to the College of Consumer and Family Sciences is linked to his wife, Gertrude, a Purdue Extension specialist in the 1960s who died at an early age. In honor of his wife, he previously established the Monhaut-Zmola Fellowship, which provides Extension educators with a study fellowship. He also established a fund to award outstanding graduate students in consumer and family economics.

Nomination forms for next year's Inspiring Families and Building Communities Award will be available in 2007 on the College of Consumer and Family Sciences' Web site.

Media contact: Amy Patterson Neubert (765) 494-9723,

Source: Karen DeZarn, (765) 494-8252,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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