By Guest Blogger Rachel Dievendorf, Transitions Specialist and Volunteer Coordinator
Did you know that over 70,000 adults in Guilford County struggle with basic literacy skills? That means that 1 in 5 adults in Guilford County function at the lowest level of literacy, experiencing serious difficulty with reading, writing, and everyday skills. They may face daily obstacles such as adding up numbers on a receipt, helping their children with their homework, comprehending medical information or enjoying the magic of a good book.
Reading Connections serves adults and families in Guilford County who desire to improve their literacy skills. All of our services are free and individualized to meet the specific needs of each student. Since Reading Connections was founded in 1990, thousands of adult students have improved their literacy and met their personal goals. We started out as an information and referral hotline service for other literacy programs in the community. But with growing interest and demand, we began providing one-on-one instruction to adults. Now we have two offices in High Point and Greensboro.
We train volunteer tutors to work one-on-one or in small classes and we also offer career coaching and workplace literacy classes for students who wish to get a better job as they improve their skills. Trained volunteer tutors provide two to four hours of instruction each week in our offices or other convenient public locations such as a library or community center. Many of our volunteer tutors donate their time because they have a passion for helping others succeed and understand that literacy can be transformative.
Reading Connections also has a family literacy program which offers free evening courses at elementary schools providing literacy instruction to children and their parents. Families join together and share dinner, participate in a literacy activity and go home with a children’s book to build their personal libraries as their skills improve.
We also serve incarcerated adults in the Greensboro Detention Center as well as immigrants and refugees who are learning to read, write, and understand English. Students are at the heart of instruction as we work to promote educational equity.
I remember a student who came to Reading Connections to achieve his GED® and secure a better job. He had difficulty in school and dropped out before he was able to graduate. After years of struggling to build a better life for himself he heard our advertisement on the radio on a particularly challenging day. He contacted our office and began studying to get his GED® but the math portion was always the hardest part for him. He was always just a few points away from getting it. He said that he would day dream about walking across that stage and moving the tassel on his graduation cap. Through perseverance, courage, and the support of his dedicated tutor, he walked across that stage. It was a joy to witness him achieve his dream.
If you or someone you know could benefit from Reading Connections or you would like to join our volunteer team, please visit www.readingconnections.org or contact us at 336-230-2223.
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