“In the late 1980s, I finally admitted that I needed help to improve my reading and writing, so I contacted the Great Plains Literacy Council for that help,” said Alice Swakhamer when she addressed the GPLC Board of Directors and staff recently. “Even to this day, I am very appreciative to this organization for its value to me with my career and personal journey, but also for its value to other adults in Jackson County and Harmon County.”
The GPLC Board of Directors, staff, and volunteer tutors have worked together since 1985 to help adult learners, age 18 and older, reach their goals through literacy by offering one-to-one sessions or with small group classes on a weekly basis at no charge. For example, students might want to read a newspaper, read a repair manual, write a letter, read food or medicine labels, pass the driver license exam, read to their children, learn computer skills, take the citizenship test, or enroll in a GED program. Learners in adult literacy programs can be served in many ways. Mrs. Swakhamer’s testimony reinforced the necessity and importance of adult literacy education.
This guest speaker also expressed her appreciation to her assigned tutor Jacquelyn Parrish for all the time she dedicated to the lessons. Parrish emphasized reading and writing materials in the reliable Laubach curriculum during the tutoring sessions.
“Alice improved her comprehension and writing,” summarized Parrish, “and I was pleased to be her tutor with the Great Plains Literacy Council through the school months for about four years. She did not give up after a few months. Alice now volunteers as a reader for nursing home residents who need help in reading. I am very proud of her journey in succeeding.”
Every time an adult walks through the doors at the Altus or Hollis Public Libraries to participate in literacy education, they are starting a new life journey. They have had something or someone convince them that learning to read better is a step they must take to move forward and do the things they must do for themselves and their families.
On a monthly basis, approximately 60 adult learners are enrolled in tutoring ranging from Basic Literacy to ESL (English as a Second Language). GPLC has been serving more than 125 adult men and women each year. All who come in to GPLC have had to come to some conclusions. They have had to realize that their poor reading levels don’t work for them any longer. They have had to admit to themselves that they need help. That’s where the grants and community donations come in to give support by providing qualified part-time staff and volunteer tutors, materials, and curriculum to help them on their journey.
Consider contributing to the Great Plains Literacy Council at their annul fund raiser on Saturday, March 29, during the “GRATE” Altus Spelling Bee. It will start at 1 pm in the WOSC Band Room. There is no admission fee to come and watch the spelling teams. Consider “bee”ing a financial supporter to the literacy council to help change someone’s life journey for the better.