There is a strong need for literacy services in Mercer County, where an estimated 60,000 adults read at a fifth grade level or below. The lack of basic skills strongly correlates with a wide range of problems – poverty, crime, loss of productivity in the workplace and lack of parental involvement in children’s education. Research demonstrates that as literacy levels of the parent increase, so does their child’s educational success.
Literacy Volunteers in Mercer County volunteers provide free, confidential services to adults through tutoring sites and community partnerships throughout Mercer County. Services are designed to increase basic literacy for adults and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). Currently, about one-half of the adult participants are basic literacy students, which are defined as native English speakers reading below the sixth grade level. The rest are ESOL students, who come from a wide variety of other countries. Volunteers provide tutoring services at many locations including public libraries, workplace sites, churches and retirement homes.
“We are committed to helping adults with limited literacy capabilities achieve their personal and professional goals,” said Cheryl Kirton, LVMC executive director.
“There are never enough tutors to help all our learners,” added Kirton. “Our student waiting list rarely dips below 125 people. Sometimes it takes months or even a year to locate a match. It is a shame to loose that moment, when students have summoned the courage to ask for help.”
All volunteer tutors are required to complete a comprehensive, 15-hour training course to learn the fundamentals of reading and writing instruction. The next tutor training courses are scheduled for October and November. Once volunteer tutors complete their training, they are matched with adults who need help.
“Without question, it is truly an extraordinary experience to help someone learn to read,” said volunteer tutor, Isabel Hazel. “When you are fortunate enough to have this skill, you may take it for granted. However, when you realize how often you need to read every day and how vital this skill is for survival, there is a certain pride in helping others.”
Literacy Volunteers in Mercer County is located at 3535 Quakerbridge Rd., Suite 104, Hamilton Township, N.J. 08619.
To register for the fall tutor training course or for more information, contact the LVMC office at (609) 587-6027; visit: www.MercerLiteracy.org, or e-mail [email protected].[[In-content Ad]]