Former First Lady Barbara Bush announced that the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy’s Maine Family Literacy Initiative (mainefamilyliteracy.com) has awarded $5,000 to Regional School Unit 13’s Adult and Community Education.

Mike Lokuta of the Maine State Prison accepted the award from Bush at a ceremony held at the J. Richard Martin Community Center in Biddeford on June 10. The grant will be used to support initial planning to develop a Books Beyond Borders program at the prison, administered by RSU 13 Adult Education. The program is designed to increase the parent/child bond between prisoners and their children through literacy education and video technology.

“The abilities to read, write and comprehend enable people to create brighter and more prosperous futures for themselves, their families and their communities,” Bush said in a news release. “The staff and volunteers with the MEFLI programs are making a wonderful difference in many lives, and I am grateful for their work to make Maine a more literate state.”

A total of eight grants of $25,000 and one grant for $15,000 was awarded this year from applications submitted by libraries, adult education and public schools across the state. Programs receiving support provide family literacy services including adult and early childhood instruction, and time for parents and children to read together. An additional eight planning grants of $5,000 each will help communities develop the partnerships and resources needed to implement a family literacy program in 2010.

Founded by Barbara Bush in 1989, the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy supports the development and expansion of family literacy programs — in settings where parents and children read and learn together — across the United States. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis to nonprofit organizations, correctional institutions, homeless shelters, schools and school districts, libraries and community and faith-based agencies. As of April 2010, the foundation had awarded $35 million to 795 family literacy programs in 50 states and the nation’s capital. In addition to its national program, the foundation supports the work of statewide initiatives in Maine, Texas, Maryland and Florida. The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy is a fund of The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region in Washington, D.C. For more information visit barbarabushfoundation.com.