Sunday, February 14, 2016

Literacy – Spanning the US: Westmoreland Co PA :: Nashville TN :: NY NY :: Joplin MO :: Manatee Co FL

YWCA of Westmoreland County adds literacy center
Trib Live: 1.15.2016 by Jacob Tierney

The YWCA of Westmoreland County now has a refurbished area where you can go to brush up on your English or improve reading skills crucial to daily life.

A former ballroom in the Huff Mansion on North Main Street in Greensburg's Academy Hill Historic District has been renovated into a literacy center that opened about a month ago.

“We did it on a shoestring,” Maggie O'Leary, literacy program director, said of the renovation work that took about a year to complete.

Workers added a wall to provide privacy, replaced the ceiling, refurbished the floor and built cubicles that will serve as study spaces for tutors to work with their pupils.

Thanks to volunteer efforts and donated equipment, the project cost less than $1,000, according to YWCA Executive Director Kathy Raunikar.

The new center ties in to the YWCA's goal to expand its literacy efforts, Raunikar said.

“Having a space where they can all come is certainly going to help in growing the program,” she said.

The literacy program serves two main groups: adults who lack reading skills and people whose second language is English.

“There's a large number of the population that don't read above an eighth-grade level, sometimes not above a fifth-grade level,” O'Leary said.  READ MORE @

Touching video highlights Tennessee man’s journey to literacy
WKRN: 1.15.2016

A touching video spotlights a Nashville man who has overcome a lifelong secret.

Joseph Buford learned to read later in life through programs supported by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

Now, Kleenex is documenting his success story.

Buford said he spent most of his life hiding that he couldn’t read.

“It was terrifying, it was actually terrifying. It’s almost like the world walked off and left you behind; that’s the way I felt,” Buford explained.

He told News 2  he led a double life.

“My children would bring me something and want me to read it to them and I would always have an excuse,” he recalled, adding that his wife didn’t even know.

“I said if you want to divorce me, leave me I’ll understand,” he said.

Buford’s wife stuck beside him he found help at the Nashville Adult Literacy Council.

“There is over 30 million adults in the United States who read at one of the lowest levels of literacy,” Denine Torr with the Dollar General Literacy Foundation told News 2.

According to Torr, for more than a decade the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has been providing funding for the Nashville Adult Literacy Council to help those like Buford.  VIDEO

NYPL Blog: 1.14.2016 by Elaine Sohn, Volunteer, Aguilar Library, Adult Learning Center


Project Light teaches English to Manatee County residents
Bradenton Herald: 1.18.2016 by Claire Aronson

When Victor Diaz moved to the United States from Colombia with his wife 14 years ago, neither of them could speak English, but they were determined to learn.

Through classes at Project Light, a nonprofit English language school, the 89-year-old can now speak English. While in his second level of English classes at the literacy center, 1104 14th St. W., Bradenton, Diaz comes every day just to practice his conversational English because, he says, it's the best way to learn.

"I don't have people to practice with at home," Diaz said. "I come here every day to learn. I like coming here. It's an opportunity for me to practice. I need to practice every day."

On Monday, Diaz, along with about 15 other people, took part in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, organizing new libraries and materials at Project Light and labeling books for check out. Project Light received a $2,000 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service grant from Occupy Bradenton, which was a recipient of a grant from State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota.

With the grant, Project Light was able to set up two libraries -- one for teacher resources and the second for reading and practice materials for the students. There are also books to prepare for GED and citizenship exams.

Now students such as Diaz will be able to take books home to continue practicing outside of class.

"It will also encourage them to read outside of the classroom and read with children," said Chris MacCormack, Project Light program director. "We are going to encourage them to sit down and read with children. I really hope they are going to use these libraries."  READ MORE @

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