Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Gloucester Co NJ ::Pleasantville NJ :: Birmingham AL

New Jersey 10.27.2016 by Community Bulletin

Maricela Mojica immigrated to the United States from Mexico 16 years ago with dreams of finding greater opportunities here and a better life.

She became a U.S. citizen this summer in hopes of securing a brighter future for her family. She is eager to vote in her first U.S. election on Nov. 8.

"I feel part of this great country," Maricela said. "I am excited to vote in our next elections."

Maricela is one of more than 5,100 adults receiving services through Literacy New Jersey, which provides adult literacy programs and U.S. citizenship classes with the help of volunteer tutors. In the last year, more than 150 Literacy New Jersey students became citizens.

"For so many of our students, improving their literacy skills is just the beginning. It opens doors for them," said Literacy New Jersey CEO Elizabeth Gloeggler. "They are able to navigate their daily lives more easily. They may get greater opportunities at work or a promotion. They may feel more comfortable at doctors' appointments and in speaking with their children's teachers. Some, like Maricela, become U.S. citizens and vote."

A Hammonton resident and mother of two, Maricela, 42, has attended English conversation groups at Literacy New Jersey in Gloucester County for the last year, meeting for five hours a week with instructors and other students to work on her pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar.  READ MORE @

Literacy Volunteers work to improve lives beyond words
Shore News Today: 10.28.2016

Literacy Volunteers Association Cape-Atlantic Inc. provides volunteer-based literacy education for adults aimed at helping them become more successful employees, parents, consumers and citizens.

It strives to create a culture where 100 percent literacy is the norm.

Group classes are held at the LVA office in Pleasantville and at libraries, schools, churches and municipal buildings.

Tutor training is held four times per year at different locations and times to accommodate as many volunteers as possible. On average 40 tutors are trained and 250 students are served each year, according to the organization.

In the fiscal year ending June 30, students received 7,726 hours of free education valued at $348,000. Twenty seven students got jobs this year, and 122 students kept their jobs (all data is tracked in the LACES Department of Labor database).  READ MORE @

Fighting Adult Illiteracy, One Reader at a Time
WBHM: 11.01.2016 by Dan Carsen

Imagine not being able to read an email from your family. Or a job application. Or medication labels. How about a simple road sign? Adult illiteracy is a complex, stubborn problem. Based on conservative estimates, in the five-county area around Birmingham alone, there are more than 90,000 adults who have trouble reading and writing. And there are almost as many reasons as there are people.

“When I was little, my family didn’t have time for me,” says Janie Morgan, 61, of Bessemer. “So I had to try to learn as much as I could on my own. And then when I went to school there were so many kids there that they really couldn’t just help just one person.”

Essie Johnson, 59, of Birmingham adds, “My mom … she was a good mom. [But] my dad and her broke up, and she became an alcoholic. I had to take care of her and my brothers. I didn’t go to school a lot because I had to help them. I missed out.”

Fred Oliver, 86, also of Birmingham, thinks back to the late 1930s: “I was doing good in school, but when the old man died, I had to get out and work.”

Oliver, who goes by “Mr. Fred,” started working all kinds of jobs in Birmingham when he was a child. He never really learned to read, and that lasted most of his life. When the decorated Korean War veteran’s wife died two years ago, he lost someone who’d helped him with any reading and writing that came up. Now he jokes that he’s tired of relying on his children.

“My kids take care of all my business, all my stuff, but I’m getting ready to kick ‘em all out!”

But as we talk, he gets more serious.

“I’m still learning,” he says. “You’re never too old to learn. And you’re never too old to learn how to read better. And do better in your life.”

Mr. Fred and about 150 other learners are doing that through The Literacy Council of Central Alabama. The 25-year-old Birmingham-based nonprofit is a United Way agency funded by donations from foundations, corporations and individuals. As volunteers work one-on-one with learners, In-House Programs Director Adrienne Marshall describes her motivations.  LISTEN @

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