Sunday, April 30, 2017

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Greene Co PA :: Mendocino Co CA :: San Antonio TX

Greene County literacy tutor honored for her service
Observer-Reporter: 4.16.2017 by Karen Mansfield

It was during a battle with stage three breast cancer that Kris Drach discovered how she wanted to spend her retirement, if she survived.

Drach, who was a colonel in the U.S. Army stationed in Washington, D.C., in 1999 when she received her cancer diagnosis, was too sick to work during 18 months of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, but wanted to spend her time doing “something worthwhile,” she said.

So Drach visited the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia and became an English as a Second Language tutor, where she taught a Muslim woman whose family moved to the United States from Egypt to seek treatment at a Shriners hospital for the woman’s daughter, who had been born without a leg.

“A warm, loving, funny woman. I fell in love with her,” Drach said last month, as she accepted the 2017 Outstanding Tutor of the Year award from the Tutors of Literacy in the Commonwealth at the annual Pennsylvania Association for Adult Continuing Education conference at Penn State University.

“Over the next three years, we conquered English, grocery stores, restaurants, libraries, school letters from teachers and doctor office conversations, and we found a used computer and we mastered English on the internet. I was smitten with this work.”

Drach did, indeed, survive her bout with cancer, and five years ago, the now-Greene County resident volunteered with the Literacy Council of Southwestern Pennsylvania, a partner of Intermediate Unit 1.

She serves as the literacy council’s director of programs, president of the board of directors, tutor trainer, and volunteer instructor, teaching small group ESL classes and working one-on-one with a 35-year-old student from Vietnam. During her five years serving with the literacy council, Drach, 64, has volunteered more than 6,000 hours.  READ MORE @

Volunteers take first step toward becoming literacy tutors
Willits News: 4.20.2017 by Ariel Carmona Jr

Individual adults have varying reasons for wishing to learn to read. There are some who want to pass the written portion of their DMV test, while others are English language learners trying to pass their GED. On Wednesday, a new batch of prospective volunteer literacy tutors met in the Willits Library Conference Room to learn how they can help meet the literacy needs of the community.

Literacy Volunteers of America, Willits, was started in 1985 as an adult literary program at the Mendocino County Library Willits branch by history teacher Alex Carlon and was funded by the County library system until the funding was no longer available.

According to tutor trainer Pam Shilling, today the program continues as a 501(c3) non-profit operating on roughly $2,500 a year. Most of its funding is community raised to cover materials for tutors and learners and help offset the cost of office expenses.
The program is nestled in a small back office space in the library. Shilling wears many hats for the organization including that of trainer and secretary.  READ MORE @

San Antonio Group Tackles Adult Literacy, One Student at a Time
Reporting Texas: 4.21.2017 by Kaulie Lewis

When Arthur Montalbo was working in Galveston, he never found the time to take his high-school equivalency test. He had a family to support, and that came first. The one time he  applied for a continuing education program, it turned out to be a scam, leaving him thousands of dollars in debt and no closer to his dream of working in computer maintenance.

Years later, his daughter brought him to San Antonio and encouraged him to pursue his GED. Now he spends his Wednesday afternoons at the Each One Teach One headquarters, going over algebraic equations with a tutor in preparation for the test.

“I’ve had some rough times before, but they really help you out here,” he says.

Each One Teach One, the organization behind Montalbo’s GED prep, is the only adult literacy education nonprofit serving the greater San Antonio area. Though San Antonio is the seventh largest city in the United States, it ranks 73rd in national measures of literacy according to U.S. Census data and a report from Central Connecticut State University. Roughly one in four San Antonio adults is functionally illiterate, defined as reading at or below the fifth-grade level.

“The need is just horrendous,” said Carolyn Heath, the founder and director of Each One Teach One. “And it’s not just San Antonio; it’s Texas.” Now her organization is doing all it can to help.

Heath began Each One Teach One in 2004 after she noticed adults at a tax preparation site struggling to fill out their intake forms. Soon, students were coming from across the city and its suburbs. “We learned that we had just stumbled on one of the most serious issues facing our city.”  READ MORE @

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