Sunday, July 31, 2016

Literacy – Spanning the US: Indianapolis IN :: Temple TX :: Hendersonville NC :: Columbus OH :: San Benito Co CA

He couldn't read the recipes, now he's pastry chef for Pacers
IndyStar: 6.18.2016 by Dana Hunsinger Benbow

Alvin Clark fought through life and then? He made U.S. history as the first black Certified Executive Pastry Chef.

When they first laid eyes on him, people called him a rat. Strangers. Loved ones. Family acquaintances.

When Alvin Clark was born, he was premature and pitiful, and people said he looked like a rat.

His crib was a dresser drawer. His body so small and scrawny that his diapers were tattered handkerchiefs.

And if Clark had a rough start in life, it only got worse.

The beatings were always the same, swift and harsh. The weapon was never the same; whatever was lying around the dilapidated house in Dallas.

Clark remembers the 2-by-6 boards most vividly, the lumber his uncle would lunge at him with, in a drunken rage, and strike.

In this house, nights weren't spent doing homework or reading or learning math. In this house, nights were spent cowering in fear.

He would make U.S. history as the first black man to be named a pastry chef of the highest order, earning the designation of Certified Executive Pastry Chef from the American Culinary Federation in 1987. It's an elite honor, the baking world's equivalent to an admiral in a navy.

He would cook for celebrity royalty, the likes of Prince and Stevie Wonder and Natalie Cole. He would be called upon to bake the snickerdoodle cookies for the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis. He would become the subject of a documentary.

Yet, the icing on the cake of his career would come at an NBA arena where, since 2004, he has worked as executive pastry chef for Levy Restaurants inside the Indiana Pacers' home of Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Clark would achieve many of his accomplishments as an illiterate man, with just his memory and the recipes in his head — more than 600 of themREAD MORE @

Turning the pages on illiteracy in Central Texas
KDHNews: 6.24.2016 by Catherine Hosman

According to the Texas Center for the Advancement of Literacy & Learning at Texas A&M Education and Human Development, the illiteracy rate in Bell County is 13 percent. In the state of Texas, the rate is 19 percent.

When I first met Don Stiles, director of the Temple Literacy Council, I was immediately taken by his friendliness. When he spoke, he smiled, and he never stopped. Right off I knew I was in the presence of a man who never met a stranger.

I met him on the second floor of the Temple Public Library, where the Council is headquartered. On the way to his office he stops to say hello to the librarians. Just as we turn to go into his office he is stopped by a library patron who just wants to say hello and chat.
Stiles welcomes each person who comes into his office as if he or she were already a friend, whether it’s a new student, prospective tutor or inquisitive reporter. His congeniality is genuine and bodes well in his work where he is tasked with the responsibility of helping adults learn how to read or speak English as a second language.  READ MORE @

Undiagnosed dyslexia
From fear to confidence for literacy student
BlueRidgeNow: 6.25.2016 by Beth De Bona

Michelle Edmunds didn’t realize it, but her reading skills were at a fourth-grade level, despite the fact that she has a high school diploma.

The Tuxedo resident had never read a book before two years ago; now, thanks to tutoring at Blue Ridge Literacy Council, she’s in love with reading.

“The library is a magical place to me now. Before, it was just books,” said Edmunds, 50. “I’ve been here, but I’ve been around the world.”

A few years ago, Edmunds was working as a detention officer at the county jail when she failed to pass a certification test. Her struggles with the test were a red flag for an official overseeing the trainees; he referred her to the Literacy Council.

After testing there revealed her reading skill level, she started work under tutor Dawn Keller, who met with Edmunds at the detention center four times a week in preparation to take the tests for the job certification, but to no avail — Edmunds was let go from her job.

“I was sad at the time, but I learned from my mistakes to move forward,” Edmunds said.

A previously undiagnosed dyslexia helped to explain Edmunds' lack of skills, and since the diagnosis it’s been a full-time job for her to increase her level of literacy. It’s a job that’s had enough adventure and reward to make up for all the hard work involved.

“Before I couldn’t read a newspaper. Honestly, I just looked at the pictures,” she said. “Now I read it through.”  READ MORE @

Literacy tutor, volunteer named Columbia County Library Advocate of 2016
Columbus Journal: 6.25.2016 by Lisa Cestkowski

Mary Lou Sharpee has been teaching people how to read her whole life.

Although she retired from her job as the Columbus School District’s reading specialist in 2008, Sharpee still tutors people through the Columbus Literacy Council, a volunteer organization that works cooperatively with the Columbus Public Library. She’s also a member of the library’s Board of Trustees and works with the Root for Columbus program.

In recognition of all of her volunteer work, Sharpee was named Columbia County’s Library Advocate of 2016.

Library director Cindy Fesemyer said Sharpee was more than deserving of the award.

“As a very active volunteer herself, Mary Lou is so appreciative of the efforts of others in the community, the library included,” she said. “She has kind words, and occasionally some not-so-kind words. But she always tells it like it is.”

Sharpee was one of the founding members of the Literacy Council when it formed in the late 1980s. She’s still tutoring people who need help with reading, but these days she is also the group’s president and chief troubleshooter, making sure everyone in need of assistance gets help, training tutors and keeping the program on track.  READ MORE @

Library promotes adult literacy
BenitoLink: 6.28.2016 by San Benito County Free Library 

Many of us take our reading skills for granted. We think nothing of reading a menu at a restaurant or reading a bus schedule posted at the bus stop but what if you couldn’t read? How would you use the most basic services such as ordering at a restaurant or using mass transit? According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy completed in 2003, 14 percent of adult Americans demonstrated a below basic literacy level in 2003. California has approximately 3.4 million adults with below basic literacy skills. In San Benito County 19 percent of adults have below basic literacy levels. The effect on our communities is profound.

Public libraries are committed to literacy and have stepped into bridge the educational gap. For more than 30 years, the San Benito County Free Library’s Adult Literacy Program has been helping community members achieve their literacy goals.

In January 2007, the library received a grant from the California Library Literacy Services (CLLS), a program of the California State Library. The program had been changing lives both for the volunteer tutors and learners since its inception. Rebecca Salinas, a longtime Hollister resident and retired educator, has been a tutor for six years.

“I love to teach and I wanted to experience teaching adults, since I had only taught in the elementary grades," she said. "I believe education is the key to the door of opportunity and personal growth; therefore, reading is fundamental. I was fortunate that someone helped me get my education. Tutoring is a small way I can help someone as I was helped.”

Salinas is retired, but she keeps busy. “My greatest challenge is time," she said. " I am the treasurer for the Friends of the San Benito County Free Library as well as a member of several boards of other organizations.”  READ MORE @

No comments: