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About Us

We Care.


Light A Candle For Literacy's Afterschool Program founder Geneva Hayden has dedicated the last 30 years to serving the children and families of her community.  She began teaching neighborhood children reading in her home which led to her founding Communities United to Rebuild Neighborhoods (CURN), a block-by-block program that engaged parents and children in neighborhood pride.  From there she launched Light A Candle for Literacy, an afterschool and summer program for school-age youth in grades K-5.  Mrs. Hayden has used the program to teach children about morals and good character like respect, responsibility, honesty, and caring.


She encourages young children to follow the right path, giving them three options upon graduating high school:

1. College

2. Military

3. Trade

Who We Are

Light a Candle for Literacy (LACFL) is an after-school and summer literacy program based on Syracuse’s Southside in the Brighton neighborhood and serves school-age youth in Kindergarten-5th grade. Our program operates daily after school from 3 to 5 p.m. and focuses on reading, homework help, and character development.  We also operate an annual 6-week summer program.


LACFL is a community volunteer-run program. Our partners and supporters include Greater Love of Christ Church, The CNY Community Foundation, The Gifford Foundation, Marcellus First Presbyterian Church, United Way, Southside Homeowners Association, and our dedicated community volunteers.


“You can’t have education without character because you need both. So I do both. I do character building. That is my philosophy because they have to be able to respect themselves to be able to respect others.”


~Geneva Hayden

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