Matching funds support launch of new LENA Start sites nationwide


Since I joined LENA two years ago, I’ve seen LENA Start expand from serving 1,000 families in 17 communities to serving 3,000 families in 35 communities across the United States and Canada. I’m thrilled to watch the program’s impact scale, but what I love the most is meeting individuals in each community who are excited to use LENA Start to strengthen families. Each community we partner with is unique, and our partner organizations are doing incredible work in many areas. From boosting children’s literacy to supporting teen parents, it’s exciting to see how LENA Start has become a part of different initiatives in each location. 

I’m delighted to share more about our newest community partners that are launching LENA Start this fall through our ongoing matching funds opportunity.

LENA Start locations as of June 2019

LENA Start locations as of June 2019. Visit to see an interactive map with details about each site.

In Nashville, Tenn., we are partnering with Jaclyn O’Brien, Executive Director of SparkED, a brand new preschool with a language focus. While Jaclyn is busy launching this new program to serve families in Nashville, she’s also running LENA Start groups in partnership with the Martha O’Bryan Center, Frederick Douglass Head Start, and Hope Clinic for Women.

We’re also delighted to begin working with First 5 Riverside in Riverside, Calif. Across the state, First 5 commissions work to improve the lives of young children and their families. First 5 Riverside touches every aspect of a child’s life with their focus on increasing access to quality early learning, supporting comprehensive health and development, and building resilient families.

Many of our partners work with families from diverse language backgrounds. One of the amazing things about LENA technology is that it provides valuable feedback on adult words and conversational turns no matter what language you are speaking! Our partners at Adelphi University are launching LENA Start with underserved families in Arabic- and Spanish-speaking communities in the Brooklyn area. Through LENA, they will encourage families to maintain use of their primary language and highlight the developmental benefits of dual language learning.

Get more information on how to apply for matching funds:

Learn more

Another new LENA Start community, Literacy Volunteers of Central Connecticut, will also be working with dual language learner families, as well as teen parents, in New Britain, Conn. As part of the Coalition for New Britain’s Youth, LVCCT is implementing LENA Start to reach their goal of ensuring children are developmentally prepared to enter kindergarten.

Two of our new partners are libraries — Spartanburg County Library District in Spartanburg, S.C., and Pikes Peak Library District in Colorado Springs, Colo. Since LENA Start’s launch in 2015, we’ve built valuable relationships with libraries across the country. With an existing focus on early literacy and community outreach, LENA Start fits well into the portfolio of programming that many libraries offer.

Many communities begin a partnership with LENA focused on using only one of LENA’s three programs. However, our new partnership led by Early Childhood Action Strategy (ECAS) will be bringing LENA Start, LENA Home, and LENA SP to both Honolulu and Maui, Hawaii through their Words Matter program. The goal of this program is to strengthen communities’ capacity to support families of young children, birth to three, in early literacy and child development to boost school readiness.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to check out the amazing work being done by these organizations across the country! If your organization is interested in bringing LENA Start programming to families in your community, we have additional matching funds available. Learn more here, or set up a time to talk with me.

Caitlyn Stafford

Caitlyn Stafford

Caitlyn Stafford is Manager of Business Development Operations at LENA. She has worked within the health, technology, manufacturing, and nonprofit sectors focusing primarily on building and deepening partner relationships.

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