Washtenaw Literacy: 40 years of fighting illiteracy

Agency seeks your help in its goal to support 1,000 more learners by 2015

Oct 26, 2010, 12:41 ET from Washtenaw Literacy

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Oct. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Washtenaw Literacy, a non-profit organization founded in 1971 with a goal to end adult illiteracy, has grown to an organization providing programs to 1,800 learners last year alone, through the dedicated efforts of over 600 volunteer tutors.  The agency approaches its 40th anniversary at a time of real crisis in Michigan—steep unemployment figures coupled with high levels of adult illiteracy.  To address that need, the agency is redoubling its efforts and seeks to increase the number of learners served by 1,000 – to a total of 2,800 learners by 2015.

Washtenaw Literacy's 2010 World in a Basket event – its annual fundraiser -- was a great success, providing an important indicator of the community interest and support for the agency.  Devin Scillian, honorary host, chaired the event which yielded strong results. Yet the need in Washtenaw County is great, and there is a long journey ahead in the fight to end illiteracy.

"We can't let early signs of economic recovery in some parts of the country blind us to this need in our own community," says Amy Goodman, Executive Director. "Michigan unemployment remains high and low-literate adults face the hardest challenges of all in their search for employment.  We must do more to help. Our 40th anniversary provides a unique opportunity for us to shine a spotlight on the impact low literacy has on our community and what we must do about it—how wonderful it would be to eliminate illiteracy in the county altogether!"

During the coming year there will be many opportunities to get involved in the goal to end illiteracy.  These events include Tutor Training, Support Literacy Now luncheon and breakfast events in May, a September Anniversary Learner/Tutor Reunion, World in a Basket 2011 benefit auction in October, and much more.  There are many ways to help... tutoring, financial contributions, committee work, corporate sponsorships, and in-kind support.  This is what will be required to achieve the goal of supporting 2,800 learners by 2015

To explore how you can join the fight against illiteracy, please call Washtenaw Literacy at (734) 879-1320 or go to the brand-new website at www.washtenawliteracy.org.

About Washtenaw Literacy

Washtenaw Literacy's purpose is straightforward: we help adults change their lives through literacy. Our organization has devoted the last 40 years to helping men and women improve their reading, writing and English as a second language skills. Our 40th anniversary provides a special opportunity to recommit to ending illiteracy in Washtenaw County.

Our core program is one-on-one tutoring. This is the approach our first volunteer tutors used in 1971. The reason we still use it today is because it works. Over 90% of adults in our one-on-one tutoring program reach one or more of their goals. Part of this success stems from our "designer tutor" approach. We train each of our volunteer tutors to plan lessons according to the learner's strengths, needs and goals. Adult learners in our program are motivated because they are setting, and meeting, their own standards for success.

This focus on individual goals makes our program unique in the county. Washtenaw Literacy is a critical part of our community's educational continuum. Someday we hope to have no need for our services. Until then, we'll support our volunteer tutors as they help low-literate men and women improve their skills and their lives.

SOURCE Washtenaw Literacy