Sunday, January 22, 2017

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Boise ID :: Stanislaus Co CA :: Memphis TN

Much-loved Learning Lab marks 25 years of promoting adult literacy in Treasure Valley
Idaho Statesman: 1.02.2017 by Anna Webb

Learning Lab, a nonprofit learning and literacy center in the Treasure Valley, started with grassroots. Back in 1991, members of the Boise Junior League were thinking ahead to the new millennium, concerned about the changing nature of the workplace and the growing necessity for educated workers as jobs that didn’t require degrees and diplomas were becoming obsolete.

The Junior League founded the Learning Lab in a room at Boise Public Library. At that time, said current executive director Ann Heilman, the organization had one paid employee, four students and four volunteers. The community’s response to the literacy program, characterized by small classes and devoted volunteers, was immediate and positive, said Heilman.

“That suggested we’ve hit the sweet spot because here we are today, 25 years later,” Heilman said.

One sign of success and its role in the heart of the community? The upcoming annual fundraiser Lunch for Literacy on Feb. 3 is all but sold out with 1,000 ticket sales a month before the event.

“This is a lovely problem to have,” Heilman said.

A quarter century after it opened its doors, the Learning Lab has a bright, airy home in Garden City (308 E. 36th St.). It offers a variety of classes, including English language learning, GED prep, family literacy and more. It serves close to 400 students of all ages, has a full staff and more than 150 volunteer tutors. Many of the Learning Lab’s volunteers have stayed with the organization for more than a decade, some since its earliest years.  READ MORE @

Modesto-based literacy center needs volunteer tutors to help adults
Modesto Bee: 1.04.2017

LearningQuest – Stanislaus Literacy Centers needs 20 volunteers to meet the needs of people on a waiting list for a tutor.

“You can be part of educating an adult, which like tossing a stone in a pond will send out circles of impact to their whole family and to our community,” Executive Director Karen Williams said in a news release.

A tutor meets two times a week for about 90 minutes to help a student, 18 years or older, reach his or her goals. Many students would like to pass the test for a high school diploma. Some want to improve their reading and writing in English, and others have specific goals such as reading a book for the first time, passing their driver’s test or getting a promotion at work.

“This is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to get involved with the community and help an adult learner reach a desired goal,” said Williams, who offered three examples of the students seeking tutors:  READ MORE @

Q&A with Knox Shelton 
New Literacy Mid-South director says illiteracy is a bigger problem than most think.
Memphis Flyer: 1.05.2017 by Micaela Watts

Literacy Mid-South, the nonprofit organization that hustles to provide literacy resources to Mid-Southerners regardless of age, has recently acquired a new executive director, Knox Shelton.

Shelton, who visited Memphis frequently as a child with his family, told his mother at the age of 6 that he would move to our fair city as an adult. After graduating from college, he made good on his promise and secured a job with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Memphis.

Shelton became immediately immersed in what he describes as collaborative and innovative efforts by nonprofits all over town that had the overarching goal of addressing systemic problems among the disenfranchised.

The work of LM especially caught his eye, and when the opportunity to join the organization arose, Shelton jumped on it. The former interim and now permanent director of LM sat down with The Memphis Flyer to talk about the state of literacy in Memphis, and how he plans to continue advocating for a literate city. — Micaela Watts

Flyer: In your assessment, what is the level of literacy in Memphis, for children and adults, right now?

Knox Shelton: It's terrifying. A lot of progress is being made, but some of the most recent scores released by the state of Tennessee show that, yes, some progress is being made in some of our schools, but we are nowhere near where we need to be. For adults, I didn't realize just how many adults were struggling to read. I didn't know that one in seven Memphians were reading at or below a third-grade level. READ MORE @

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