Changing lives one page at a time
CENTREVILLE — Free literacy tutoring is being offered to adults in St. Joseph County.
The St. Joseph County Literacy Council was formed in 1986 and gained federal 501C3 nonprofit status in 2005.
John “JD” Yoder, executive director, said the organization’s main goal is to improve adult literacy in the county.
“The stats say that 11 percent of the St. Joseph County adult population does not know how to read,” Yoder said. “The main thing we do here is help those 18 years or older, who cannot read above a third grade level, learn to read.”
Ron Hooker, president, said any St. Joseph County adult resident can receive tutoring at any time of the year.
“Any adult in St. Joseph County is eligible for free tutoring,” he said. “It is not like a six month program or a yearlong program, it just keeps going, so it allows the student to join at any time and slowly make [his or her] way through [the program].”
Hooker said the program tutored 70 adults last year, ranging from young adults to grandmothers.
“I tutored a grandmother who only wanted to learn how to read so she could read to her grandchildren,” he said.
Hooker also noted the nonprofit works with a significant number of ESL (English as a second language) students as well.
According to Hooker, roughly 35 tutors from all over the county volunteer weekly. Each student is matched up with a tutor, the two establish a public location to meet at, such as a library, and the learning begins.
“All we ask is one hour a week,” he said. “We don’t require more than an hour a week, but some of our tutors like to go beyond that. For example, we have had tutors take their students out shopping so they can read the labels or go to restaurants to read the menus.”
Hooker said anyone with the ability to read and the desire to give back to the community can become a tutor. Volunteers range from retired teachers to hospital nurses.
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