Friday Focus: Charles County Literacy Council

Founded over 50 years ago, the Charles County Literacy Council has a long history of helping people in the community achieve their personal and professional goals. Working one-on-one with their students, each volunteer tutor puts in a significant amount of time and dedication, and the rewards are many. We spoke to Sue Lateulere, Program Coordinator for the Council, who shared some particularly heartwarming stories in this week’s Friday Focus.

Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)

A: The CCLC provides free, one-on-one, confidential tutoring to adults in Charles County in reading, writing, basic math, English for those who speak it as a Second Language, as well as help preparing for the GED test or the ASVAB military entrance exam. Our volunteers strive to ensure that all adults have access to the quality education needed to fully realize their potential as individuals, parents and citizens.

Our volunteer tutors have all taken a nine hour training course that teaches them how to tutor adults; anyone can do it. If you can read, you can teach another adult to read!

Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?

A: There are many favorite moments – I’m sure each tutor could share several! But here are a few:

During 2014, one of our Adult Learners was able to pass the ‘written’ driver’s license exam. This may not seem like a big accomplishment to most, but for those who cannot read, the driver’s test is a huge obstacle to furthering themselves and leading a productive life.

A young mother of two children worked with one of our tutors for many months on her math skills. The hard work paid off and she passed the GED test. With this new asset on her resume, within one month she was able to find a job near her home that would accommodate her family’s schedule.

A man in his late 50’s came to us, embarrassed that he could not read a menu at a restaurant. He had developed coping mechanisms over the years to get by: memorizing road signs, pretending to forget his glasses, feigning migraines. He has recently completed Level 3 of our “Beginning to Read” series and shed a few proud tears when presented with each of his completion certificates.

A man in his 60’s recently received his United States Citizenship after working with one of our tutors on the Citizenship requirements (reading, writing, conversing, U.S. history and social studies). When asked how he felt after taking the Oath of Allegiance, he replied, “Free”.

We have assisted many young men and women from Charles County to pass the ASVAB entrance exam and become proud members of our Armed Forces.

Q: What is your biggest challenge?

A: As a small nonprofit, we face several challenges including the usual ones: funding and volunteer recruitment. But the challenge of most concern is getting the word out to those adults who need our services. The delicate nature of the services we offer limits the opportunities to engage and encourage prospective students in public settings. We rely heavily on recommendations from other agencies in the county to spread the word of our services. But we also need the community to spread the word. There are many people in our local area who have never heard of the Charles County Literacy Council or know what we do, and we celebrated our 50th Anniversary this year!

Q: Are there any upcoming events?

A: Yes! Our next Volunteer Tutor Training Workshop will be held on April 11, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. in LaPlata. There are four hours of online videos and prep questions that must be completed prior to the workshop. For more information or to register, call the CCLC office at 301-934-6488, or check out our website www.charlescountyliteracy.org Fees for the upcoming Workshop have been waived.

Q: How can people get involved with your organization? 

A: Encourage a student. Become a volunteer tutor. Make a donation.

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