Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Literacy – Spanning North America ::Saskatoon SK :: Philadelphia PA :: Shawnee OK

Literacy: Spanning North America      

Ernie Learns To Write: The Story of a 64-year-old Sask. Farmer Who Gained Literacy, And a Friend
Star Phoenix: 12.26.2018 by Bre McAdam

In 2000, Ernie Schmidt started filling notebooks with stories from his life — stories written in neat cursive about picking rocks, shooting gophers and thistles.

He was 64 years old, and for the first time in his life, he had learned how to write. It was almost as though he knew he had a small window of time, and that two years later, a stroke would make it painfully uncomfortable to hold a pen.

Schmidt, who is now 82, expressed how meaningful this new skill was in a letter he wrote 18 years ago to READ Saskatoon, the organization that helped him learn it. Little did he know the impression he had left on them.

Fast forward to 2018, when Schmidt’s daughter, Sharon Miller, found herself at a conference, sitting beside READ’s executive director. Miller mentioned her father was a past adult learner.

Director Sheryl Harrow-Yurach asked Miller to share her father’s story with the board members. After the presentation, Harrow-Yurach realized Schmidt was the man who wrote the letter they’d been sharing with volunteers for years.

They lovingly called it “Ernie’s letter.”

“It gives me great pleasure to write this note. A few months ago I Ernest could not write, I could not spell, I even had trouble thinking about writing or spelling. I was unhappy with myself.  READ MORE >>

As Fishtown Businesses Boom, One 116-year-old Nonprofit Has Found Support From Its New Neighbors 12.26.2018 by Allison Steele

A century ago, immigrants who arrived in Fishtown from Eastern Europe found themselves at the doors of the Lutheran Settlement House on Frankford Avenue, an urban ministry that helped families acclimate to their new lives.

The nonprofit agency, which has never moved from the stately building where it was founded in 1902, now stands on a stretch of prime real estate, amid converted condos and artfully lit restaurants selling $15 cocktails.

The rapid changes have forced the organization, which provides shelter, education, domestic violence support, senior services and more, to reflect on its role in the new Fishtown, said Erica Zaveloff, director of development.

But the revitalization has also brought generosity from the businesses that now line Frankford Avenue, which have become among its most reliable donors. Fund-raising events regularly draw contributions from restaurants like Frankford Hall, Bottle Bar East, Joe’s Steaks, Johnny Brenda’s, and Wm. Mulherin’s Sons.

“The population in Fishtown, by and large, doesn’t need us anymore,” said Zaveloff, adding that the organization has been doing outreach at schools in Kensington and beyond. “What does that mean for us? Does that mean we should move to where the need is?

"But at the same time,” she continued, “it’s pretty awesome being here right now, because we get so much support. We have these people who want to give back, and rather than push us out, they want us to stay.”  READ MORE>>

Community Renewal Friendship House Invests In Bikes To Borrow
Shawnee News-Star: 12.26.2019 by Vicky O. Misa

The city’s first Friendship House is settling in to its purpose of making friends by searching out and filling a need they see in the neighborhood; right now that need comes in the form of bicycles.

“The only way to have a friend is to be one,” Ralph Waldo Emerson once said.

The famous quote may strike a chord with society because it’s kind, but its value holds true because the principle works.

Open since August in Kickapoo Park, at the corner of Seventh and Pottenger, the city’s first Friendship House is settling in to its purpose of making friends. One way they have chosen to do that is by searching out and filling a need they see in the neighborhood; right now that need comes in the form of bicycles.

Community Renewal just bought 10 bikes for Friendship House neighborhood kids through Spokelahoma bike shop owner Craig MacIntyre.

Friendship House helps neighbors rebuild the caring infrastructure of that neighborhood and fosters beneficial relationships by working with local children, youth, and adults to help meet their needs while bringing valuable social services to the neighborhood. The Friendship House’s community room will provide after-school activities and a safe place for kids in the neighborhood, GED (Hi-SET) programs, adult literacy classes, and other services that meet the needs of the neighborhood.  READ MORE >>

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Dollar General Literacy Foundation Grant Applications Now Open

Dollar General Literacy Foundation Grant Applications Now Open
Dollar General: 1.03.2019

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is now accepting grant applications for 2019 summer, family and adult literacy programs online at

Each year, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation awards funds to nonprofit organizations, schools and libraries within a 20-mile radius of a Dollar General store or distribution center to support adult, family, summer and youth literacy programs.  The need for literacy assistance isn't confined to a single age group or geographic location. =That's why the Dollar General Literacy Foundation's grant programs help improve the lives of people of all ages in many different communities. 

Adult Literacy Grants
Adult Literacy Grants award funding to nonprofits that provide direct services to adults in need of literacy assistance in one of the following areas:
> Adult Basic Education
> GED or High School Equivalency Preparation
> English Language Acquisition
CLICK HERE to apply for a 2019 Adult Literacy grant.

Deadline to apply: February 21, 2019 (by 10 pm CST)
Grant announcement: May 9, 2019
Maximum grant amount: $15,000

Family Literacy Grants
Family Literacy Grants provide funding to Nonprofit organizations who support the whole family in literacy and are seeking funding are encouraged to apply if they provide the following:
> Adult Education Instruction
> Children’s Education
> Parent and Child Together Time (PACT)
CLICK HERE to apply for a 2019 Family Literacy grant.

Deadline to apply: February 21, 2019 (by 10 pm CST)
Grant announcement: May 9, 2019
Maximum grant amount: $15,000

Summer Reading
Summer Reading Grants support the creation or expansion of summer reading programs. Local nonprofit organizations and libraries are encouraged to apply if their programs meet the following criteria:
> Target Pre-K – 12th grade students who are new readers
> Target below grade level readers
> Assist readers with learning disabilities
CLICK HERE to apply for a 2019 Summer Reading grant.
Schools are now eligible.

Deadline to apply: February 21, 2019 (by 10 pm CST)
Grant announcement: May 9, 2019
Maximum grant amount: $3,000

Youth Literacy Grants
Schools, public libraries, and nonprofit organizations who help students who are below grade level or having trouble reading are eligible to apply. Grant funding is provided to assist in the following areas:
> Implementing new or expanding existing literacy programs
> Purchasing new technology or equipment to support literacy initiatives
> Purchasing books, materials or software for literacy programs

Applications for 2019 grant will be available February 28, 2019
and will be due by May 16, 2019.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Library of Congress Literacy Awards 2019 :: Deadline March 8

Library of Congress Literacy Awards 2019
Deadline March 8
Library of Congress: January 2019

DEADLINE:  March 8

Since 2013, the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program has awarded $1.5 million in prizes to 91 institutions in 28 countries. By recognizing current achievements, the awards seek to enable any organization or program that does not operate on a for-profit basis to strengthen its involvement in literacy and reading promotion and to encourage collaboration with like-minded organizations.

Through the generosity of David M. Rubenstein, the Library of Congress Literacy Awards have made outstanding contributions to increasing literacy in the United States or abroad. The awards also encourage the continuing development of innovative methods for promoting literacy and the wide dissemination of the most effective practices. They are intended to draw public attention to the importance of literacy, and the need to promote literacy and encourage reading.


The David M. Rubenstein Prize ($150,000) is awarded for an outstanding and measurable contribution to increasing literacy levels to an organization based either inside or outside the United States that has demonstrated exceptional and sustained depth in its commitment to the advancement of literacy. The organization will meet the highest standards of excellence in its operations and services.

The American Prize ($50,000) is awarded for a significant and measurable contribution to increasing literacy levels in the United States or the national awareness of the importance of literacy to an organization that is based in the United States.

The International Prize ($50,000) is awarded for a significant and measurable contribution to increasing literacy levels in a country other than the United States to an organization that is based either inside or outside the United States.

Best Practice Honorees ($5,000): Each year up to 15 organizations that apply in the three major prize categories are recognized for their successful implementation of a specific literacy promotion practice.

Email two letters of reference and the completed application form, including the five selection criteria statements and your essay, to by midnight, March 8, 2019, EDT.

2019 Literacy Awards Application (Microsoft Word document)
2019 Literacy Awards Call for Applications (Microsoft Word document)

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Bonita Springs FL :: Indianapolis IN :: Redlands CA :: Providence RI

Literacy: Spanning the U.S.     

Literacy Council Gulf Coast Producing Meaningful Results
News Press: 12.21.2018 by Sue Holman

The Literacy Council Gulf Coast has been providing English language education to members of our Southwest Florida community since 1989.

Our mission is “to assist adults and children to acquire the English literacy skills and education necessary to improve their quality of life and enhance the entire community.” We have been a United Way Partner agency for almost 20 years and truly appreciate the support of the local community.

We strive to reach the entire spectrum of ages from pre-school to seniors.  Literacy Council offers programs focused on improving the lives of those eager to learn or improve their English language skills. These include: English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for adults offered at our facility in Bonita Springs and other sites throughout Lee, Hendry and Collier counties, GED prep classes, U.S. Citizenship prep classes and work site literacy programs offered at area golf and gated communities where residents serve as volunteer tutors for the community’s employees.  READ MORE >>

After Run Of Deficits, Indy Reads Retools Approach To Teaching, Finds New Funding
IBJ: 12.21.2018 by Lindsey Erdody

When Ryan King joined Indy Reads as CEO in fall 2016, he inherited an organization that was well-respected in the Indianapolis community—but needed some tender loving care.

The adult literacy not-for-profit had been operating in the red since 2013, and fundraising was becoming more difficult. The group’s one-on-one tutoring program seemed to be working, but the organization didn’t have any data to support that claim.

King decided something needed to be done to right the course.

“You’ve gotta change things up or you get stale,” King said. “We want to constantly challenge ourselves.”

Indy Reads launched a redesigned literacy program in fall 2017, and the board recently approved a new mission statement and strategic vision. The new direction broadens the scope of the organization to include job-readiness skills, rather than focusing only on literacy and English-language proficiency.

“The vision and the mission should be reviewed every year by the board, because the environment we live in changes,” said Jessica White, president of Indianapolis fundraising consulting firm Jessica White Associates. “It’s perfectly relevant that they have revisited this and that they’re making some changes. I think they’re good ones.”

The changes might include a new location. The lease for Indy Reads Books, the not-for-profit’s store on the north end of Massachusetts Avenue, expires in August, and it’s likely the store will have to move to less-expensive space.  READ MORE >>

Here’s What Members of the A.K. Smiley Public Library’s Adult Literacy Program Achieved in 2018
Redlands Daily Facts: 12.20.2018 by Diane Shimota, Literacy Coordinator-AK Smiley Library

This season offers many of us the opportunity to read treasured messages from friends and family. It can be easy to forget that for some adults reading and writing is a challenge.

It takes tremendous courage for an adult to enroll in an adult literacy program and admit that their reading and writing is insufficient in meeting the goals they have in getting a new or better job, helping their children with their education or furthering their own learning. As the year ends, we invite you to celebrate with us the many achievements of adult learners currently enrolled in the Redlands Adult Literacy Program.

Each year adult learners set reading and writing goals. In 2018, 92 percent of the adult learners met at least one of their reading or writing goals. Most importantly, adult learners reported that their improved reading comprehension gave them a sense of personal freedom and independence. Improved literacy skills helped with fundamental life skills. For example, Isabel Vidrio reported that the adult literacy program helped her to better understand the mail she received; Cinderella Tran was able to fill out forms; and Salma Marquez had a greater sense of personal safety.

Many learners have personal goals of improving their employment or continuing their own education. This year, 22 learners obtained new jobs or promotions and eight learners reported that improving their literacy had helped them perform current work-related tasks better. Three learners met long-term education goals this year including two community college graduates and one who passed her high school equivalency exam. One community college graduate has begun work on her bachelor’s degree at Cal State San Bernardino where she is studying to become a math teacher for special needs children.

Nearly half of the learners who joined the literacy program to learn how to read with their children are now able to do so.  READ MORE >>

English for Action, Nonprofit Providing English Language Education, Ends With Pride
Providence Journal: 12.21.2018 by Madeleine List

Proud family members and friends clapped and cheered as their loved ones walked across the stage at William D’Abate Elementary School on Thursday evening to claim certificates showing they’d completed an English class with the nonprofit English For Action.

But the ceremony, which included tacos, cake and Latin music, was bittersweet.

“Today is our last graduation for the organization,” said Shirley Fuertes, executive director of English For Action, speaking from the stage in the school’s cafeteria. “So it’s a very, very important event, and it will be very commemorative for everyone.

“We are leaving a legacy in each learner in the community as well,” she said. Many quotes in this story were translated from Spanish.

English For Action, which is headquartered on Manton Avenue in Providence, has provided English language instruction and leadership development to immigrants and native Latinos for 19 years, and is closing its doors this year due to a lack of funding.

On Thursday night, more than 60 adult students who had participated in one of four classes, including beginner and intermediate English, native language literacy and alphabetization, earned their final certificates from the nonprofit that many said had given them so much more than language instruction.  READ MORE >>

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Kevin McCarty, Poster Boy For Adult Education via Sacramento News Rev

Kevin McCarty, Poster Boy For Adult Education
Sacramento News Review: 1.03.2019 by Jeff vonKaenel

California Assemblyman Kevin McCarty is not only a leading legislative advocate for adult education. He is also a poster boy for its importance. I recently met with McCarty and his educational policy team, and he told me how adult school enabled him to receive his El Camino High School diploma.

Because he had focused more on playing baseball than on academics, McCarty dropped out of high school during his senior year. He soon realized his mistake. Like hundreds of thousands of other Californians, adult schools gave McCarty a second chance.

And McCarty has put that high school diploma to good use, attending American River College and then CSU Long Beach, and finally earning his master’s degree in public policy and administration from Sacramento State.

Elected to the Sacramento City Council in 2004 and to the state Assembly in 2014, McCarty is the Democratic coach for the annual legislative softball game. He also serves as chairman of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance.

His Assembly Bill 2098, which recently passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, recognized the role that adult schools can have in helping immigrants learn English and the basic rules of citizenship, which will help them support their children’s education, and improve their chances of employment. As a result of this new law, future assessments of adult schools will look at how well they serve the immigrant population.

But the big issue for adult schools is funding. For more than a century, California led the U.S. in providing adult education. In 2008, adult schools had a $750 million state budget and served more than 1.2 million students.  READ MORE >>

Friday, January 11, 2019

Americans Are Happier in States That Spend More on Libraries, Parks and Highways via Baylor Univ.

Americans Are Happier in States That Spend More on Libraries, Parks and Highways
Baylor Univ: 1.04.2019 by Patrick Flavin, Ph.D, Baylor

Americans are happier in states where governments spend more on public goods, such as libraries, parks, highways, natural resources and police protection, a Baylor University study has found.

“Public goods are things you can’t exclude people from using — and one person using them doesn’t stop another from doing so,” said researcher Patrick Flavin, Ph.D., associate professor of political science in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences. “They’re typically not profitable to produce in the private market, so if the government doesn’t provide them, they will either be under-provided or not at all.”

Public goods spending makes communities “more livable, with more amenities,” Flavin said. “If roads are completed and kept up, so that people aren’t stuck in traffic, they have more time to do things they enjoy doing. Large parks are social spaces — and one clear finding of happiness studies is that people who are more socially connected tend to be happier.”

Another benefit of spending money on public goods is that such amenities generally boost home values — and “while higher property taxes generally accompany higher home values, it seems that the good outweighs the unfortunate part about having to pay higher taxes,” Flavin said.

In his study, published in the journal Social Science Research, Flavin analyzed data on respondents’ self-reported levels of happiness for 1976-2006 from the General Social Survey, a representative sample of Americans that monitors social characteristics and attitudes of Americans and is a project of the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago. Flavin also analyzed detailed government spending data for states from the U.S. Census Bureau for 1976-2006. Revenues to fund state public goods are raised from a combination of state taxes and transfers from the federal government to states, averaging 22.5 percent of total state revenues for that 30-year period.

“We can look at the city where people live, their neighborhoods, and see how public goods spending predicts happiness after taking other important factors, such as marital status, health, education and income, into account,” Flavin said.  READ MORE >>

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Ardmore OK :: Winchester VA :: Portland OR

Literacy: Spanning the U.S.     

Didn't Finish High School? Ardmore Program Offers Hope
KTEN: 12.19.2018 by Jackson Boland

There's never any guarantee when it comes to earning a high school diploma, but thanks to Ardmore Family Literacy, those who failed to graduate now have a way to obtain their GED.

"I had got two tests done and then a lot happened," said Bethany Kimberlin. "I moved back down here and I just really needed to get it finished so I could move forward with my future and my career."

Ardmore Family Literacy was established about five years ago, and has been helping people like Kimberlin since then.  READ MORE >>

Literacy Volunteers Winchester Area Meets Demand For More English Language Classes
Local DVM: 12.19.2018 by Bria Lloyd

Starting on January 14, Literacy Volunteers Winchester Area will be adding more adult English learning classes to their weekly schedule.

"This immigrant community, the English learner community, is growing. The demand is out there for people who are here in Winchester, people from around the world who need to learn English," said executive director Mark Sieffert. 

Their office is busier than ever and they will be adding an additional night class for the first time. Aside from English learning, they also offer computer classes and adult basic education classes. 

"A couple of students came to us independently, both young men in their 20's, who recognized that they graduated high school not being able to read very well. Now that they're fathers, they've realized that they need the help," said Sieffert. 

Literacy Volunteers Winchester Area stresses the importance of having strong literacy skills if you are a parent. The National Bureau of Economic Research states that children of parents with low literacy have a 72% chance of being at the lowest reading level themselves. 

According to Pro Literacy, between 2009 and 2018 there was a 35% decrease in funding for adult education. Sieffert says they need volunteers now more than ever.  READ MORE >>

Volunteer Tutors Help Portland Adults Navigate A World Full Of Written English
The Oregonian: 12.21.2018 by Lizzy Acker

When Sokunthea Bou, now 40, moved to Portland in 2003, at age 24, she didn’t speak or read any English.

She tells a story about walking into the wrong bathroom at Fred Meyer because she couldn’t read the “men” and “women” signs.

In a world where nearly everything is based on English, not speaking or reading it meant she was cut off. She felt like she couldn’t see, couldn’t hear and couldn’t move freely.

So in 2005, she started taking English as a second language at Portland Community College at night.

“The first day of school,” Bou says, “I just sat there and didn’t even understand any words.”

Not only were the sounds different from her native language of Khmer, but the alphabet also was different. Bou struggled, but didn’t want to give up.

A tutor coordinator connected Bou with Peggy Murphy, her former tutor and who is now the president of the Portland Literacy Council.

Portland Literacy Council trains adult literacy tutors who work in around 50 programs throughout Portland. Murphy estimates that metro-area volunteers serve between 300 and 500 adult learners each year.  READ MORE >>