The Great Plains Literacy Council hosted the annual Literacy Appreciation Luncheon at the Altus Public Library on Nov. 5. The purpose of the luncheon was to thank adult learners, tutors, volunteers, and contributors for their roles in the literacy programs. Autumn leaves, pumpkins, and fall decorations were used on the tables. GPLC Vice President Carol Steen welcomed those in attendance after the luncheon. Board member Rick Cheaney opened the program with a prayer before the introductions of all present.
Coordinator Ida Fay Winters thanked the GPLC board members and staff for providing the tasty meal. The current board of directors includes President Ryan Howard, Vice President Carol Steen, Secretary Lynn Osterhout, Treasurer Kathy Hale, Gloria Birdine, Rick Cheaney, Casey Daniels, Sharon Duffy, Nancy Evans, Anduin McElroy, Carlos Mendoza, Gail Miller, Jacquelyn Parrish, Mel Rader, Sonya Revilla, Mary Beth Williams of Holls, and Rana Womack. Robbie Holder of Gould also served on the board during the past year before her term expired.
Then Mrs. Winters began a summary of the yearly successes using large letters that represented the areas of achievements. The letters were:
L for learners…There were 100 adult learners (31 males and 69 females) involved in the past year. The largest percentage or 42% of learners were 25-44 years old. Seventy-three percent of the adult learners were Hispanic.
I for in-kind support…First, the GPLC has relied on the Southern Prairie Library System for its mere existence as the library system has provided office space, copier, telephone, computers, tutoring space, and many other materials plus even financial support.
The SPLS Board and Director Kathy Hale were given a big round of applause for their support. The GPLC Board of Directors was also thanked for providing in-kind donations as well as being 100% financial supporters.
A third group of in-kind givers this year has been the 36 volunteer tutors. About 50% of the tutors are age 60 and older, and there were 17 new tutors in the year. The 36 tutors contributed 4,515 hours of helping the adult learners read, write and speak English better. According to the Independent Sector, one hour of volunteer help in Oklahoma has been calculated to $17.50 per hour. This figure, when multiplied by the 4,515 hours, totaled over $79,000 of in-kind contribution from volunteer tutors.
T for the tireless efforts of so many, especially all the part-time staff who included Elsa L. Garcia, Aleida Burchett, Gayla Smith, Levi Tullos, Rachel Richardson, Ida Fay Winters, and SWODA Title V Worker Jackie Henson.
E for expenses of literacy services…The GPLC has been thankful for the
grants and donations to cover salary for the six part-time staff, publications, travel, curriculum, and office supplies. There are no charges for the tutoring services.
R for results…There were 17 adult learners who became US citizens after study of history and the language knowledge. Five of the students obtained new employment and five entered the Southwest Technology Center to advance their skills. One of the learners got her GED diploma. As far as academic results, 44% of the community literacy learners had advanced at least one grade level in reading after 80 hours of study compared to the state requirement of 27% increase.
A for accounting of funds…Mrs. Winters gave credit and appreciation to Tammy Davis, SPLS Administrative Assistant, for her handling the financial records and bookkeeping for the annual audit. She praised businesses, organizations, the state legislature, board members and individuals, who had given funds for the literacy services through donations, the annual “Grate” Altus Spelling Bee fundraiser, the Combined Federal Campaign, and the Masonic Lodge Pancake Breakfast. She also mentioned appreciation of grant funding from the Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation, Wal-Mart, The Priddy Foundation, DHS Federal TANF program, and the State Department of Libraries.
C for community support…Churches and businesses have provided off-site tutoring locations away from the Altus Public Library and the Hollis Public Library. Community organizations and businesses have set out posters and displays and recruited adult learners and volunteer tutors.
Y for you who have made literacy efforts…Residents in Jackson County and Harmon County have helped change adult learner’s lives or their own lives with literacy. There are numerous ways that people have assisted or encouraged the literacy programs offered.
All these letters, when put together, spell L-I-T-E-R-A-C-Y! Yes, literacy has made a difference! The Literacy Appreciation Luncheon was one way of recognizing literacy services in the two counties.