Supportive social relationships are an important dimension of marginalized women's participation in community-based adult education programs. However, policy makers and researchers often consider these social dimensions to be tangential or secondary to instrumental outcomes such as obtaining employment or increasing standardized test scores. Drawing on two qualitative studies of family literacy programs in the Northeastern United States, this article examines the importance of social interaction and support for women in poverty. The study reveals that, for women with limited social support and social ties, family literacy programs afforded a social space that enabled them to leave the house, enjoy social contact and mutual support with peers, establish supportive relationships with teachers, and pursue self-discovery and development. The article concludes that nonformal adult education and family literacy programs play an important role in helping women in poverty receive social support and in turn enhancing their psychosocial well-being.
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