Sunday, July 20, 2014

Literacy – Spanning the US: Miami FL :: Williamsburg VA :: Albuquerque NM

Literacy:  Spanning the U.S.

Library cuts, layoffs hurt successful literacy program
Susan Vodicka is a volunteer with the public library.
Miami Herald: 7.04.2014 by Susan Vodicka

When adults know how to read and write they have the power to transform their lives. This is why, with all the issues on which Miami-Dade County’s mayor and commissioners need to focus, adult literacy should be at the top of their list. Literacy is the most basic employable skill, the essential element of economic development and living-wage jobs.

I know firsthand about the fine program established in 1985 in the Miami-Dade Public Library System, Project LEAD Miami-DadeLiteracy for Every Adult in Dade. Since then, thousands of people have benefitted.

I enrolled in the training program in 2011 to become a volunteer tutor. The LEAD library staff — overworked and underpaid — was impressive in its commitment to the cause of providing free tutoring to the 52 percent of illiterate adults in Miami-Dade — a shockingly high number. The large training sessions for would-be tutors, recruited by the staff, demonstrated an ideal population of literacy advocates by age, ethnicity, race, gender and socioeconomic diversity.

I was matched with a young single mother. She sought assistance from Project LEAD because she was touched by The Children’s Trust public-awareness campaign informing parents about essential elements for having healthy children. What spoke to her was the necessity of reading to her little boy, and she could not readREAD MORE !

Williamsburg Literacy program makes education for all a priority
Virginia Gazette: 7.04.2014 by Susan Robertson

WILLIAMSBURG — Moona Showah's children often tell her she's the most excited student they've ever seen.

"My children say when the time comes, you drop everything, and you go to school," she said with a laugh.

By school they mean Literacy for Life, a nonprofit program that kicked off its 40th anniversary July 1. It has offered literacy services such as one-on-one tutoring to residents of greater Williamsburg for nearly four decades.

Getting a GED is Showah's primary goal, though not because she didn't have the opportunity to pursue an education in her youth. Showah, whose native language is Arabic, holds a high school diploma from her country and has a year of college under her belt, but she said that carries little weight in the United States.

Her English is good, but she'll be the first to tell you that her reading, writing and spelling need work. That's why she sought out the Literacy for Life program 20 years ago when it was located in the basement of a William and Mary dormitory.

She shelved her own schooling decades ago to start a family and raise children, but the desire remained. A newspaper item about the literacy program reignited her interest, and in February, she began working with a tutor and attending small group classes.  READ MORE !

ReadWest celebrates its 25th anniversary
Albuquerque Journal: 7.13.2014 by Gary Herron

When you’ve lasted 25 years helping a community, you know you must be doing something right.

So it is with ReadWest, an adult literacy program soon to celebrate a quarter-century of existence with a gala event at Old San Ysidro Church in Corrales.

Since 1989, ReadWest, 2009 Grande Blvd., has been offering free one-on-one tutoring to adults in basic literacy, English as a Second Language (ESL), preparation for GED tests and computer literacy.

The six classrooms there, thanks to the generosity of the Rio Rancho Jewish Center that shares the building, see a lot of use: Last year, ReadWest volunteer tutors logged 9,384 hours — and using an independent sector’s estimated $22.14 hourly value of volunteer time, that’s more than $207,000 worth of literacy services dispensed at no cost.

People using ReadWest tutors “can get better jobs, get off public assistance and help their kids in school,” said ReadWest board president Linda Stokes. “And a lot of people don’t understand what the doctor told them (after a visit).”  READ MORE !

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