Community Matters March 2013

Literacy NY GCRLiteracy New York Greater Capital Region

Sylvia Jimison, Executive Director
According to a recent study, 20 percent of all adults in the Capital Region have below functional literacy skills.  Low literacy skills present a life with few stable employment opportunities, as well as immediate literacy needs. Adults, desperate for free and flexible tutoring, turn to Literacy NY Greater Capital Region for assistance.  The solution:  Literacy recruits, trains and supports dedicated volunteer tutors to work with adult learners,  perhaps native speakers who have never learned how to read, write or mathematically compute, or perhaps refugees from one of the 40 different nations represented in the Capital Region, countries such as Liberia, Afghanistan, Somalia and Myanmar.  Together with its volunteers, Literacy provides more than 5,500 hours of tutoring with 56 percent of its students gaining one to two grade levels for every 50 hours of literacy study.
Sylvia Jimison, executive director, says, “The fabulous result of improved literacy skills is that once mastered, these skills are empowering and life changing.”
Literacy provides one-to-one and small group literacy tutoring to adults with a motivated desire to improve their literacy for reading, writing, math, pre-GED, GED, English speaking skills and U.S. citizenship.  It provides a variety of tutoring sites and scheduling options, tutor and student resources and lesson plan assistance,  and continuous staff support and is the only source of free adult literacy tutoring in the area.
Volunteering is a wonderful way to help, and one person can make a difference. Volunteers play a key role. The core of Literacy’s services is its 250 dedicated volunteer tutors who are initially trained in a 15-hour tutoring introduction program, assigned a student, and then supported by Literacy staff  with lesson planning, goal setting and materials.  The volunteer tutors often say they learn as much as their students!
There are many ways to volunteer in addition to tutoring, including:

  • Website and social networking support
  • PR/marketing support
  • Event committee participation
  • Corporate sponsorships
  • Advocacy
  • Office support

If you are interested, visit and contact the staff coordinator in your area.

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