During these uncertain times, how can we help?
See below to access our COVID-19 Resource Hub, and to explore our growing directory of both COVID-19-specific and virtual volunteering opportunities.
Have you ever wanted to do something AMAZING to change the world but didn't know where to start?
Here is an opportunity to help underprivileged children, to help under-served children, to help ALL children displaced from school due to COVID-19, and even to help many adults who can't read.
We are looking for three, very special people, who have the skills, expertise, experience, passion, and time to be part of something amazing that is about to fundamentally change the lives of millions of children. Right now, millions of children have no hope; but soon, they will have the opportunity to learn how to read, which, in turn, will open a window to education and to a world of potential for them that, not only, has never been opened before, but that has never even been seriously contemplated as a potential reality.
What we are talking about is adaptive learning, gamified smartphone app, called FUNetix, that can literally, teach a child how to read, in the comfort of their home, in an average of just 12 hours of total use time!
We are the American Youth Literacy Foundation, and we have been teaching children how to read for nearly 12 years! We have been developing this app for about two years, and this year we will launch this incredible smartphone app in the App Store and on Google Play by Thanksgiving, 2020, to help save millions of children from a lifetime of illiteracy!
Already, there are millions of children who are struggling to learn how to read. Already, there are millions more who have given up on reading and are destined to go through life either completely illiterate, or with semi-literate skills at best. And now with the displacement of tens of millions of children from school, for an indeterminate amount of time, the loss of reading capacity of the next generation presents a new, crisis moment in American education and a very real threat to the future success of millions of young students.
We are partnered with an engineering team that was one of the five $1 million finalists in the XPrize for Global Learning competition, the winners of which were announced this past May, which was a worldwide competition for app design and development teams from around the world to design, build and deliver a tablet-based app to children in remote villages in Africa which could teach them how to read and do basic math (children of all ages, most of whom had never been to school before in their lives).
The curriculum that our app is based on is a patented reading decoding system, and is so effective at teaching children how to read, that it usually only takes 4-6 hours for them to understand the system, and another 4-6 hours for them to reach a 2nd grade reading level. Compare this to many of our students who have been in the public school system for 6 years and still can't spell the word "the." Compare this to millions of students who have dropped out of school, primarily because they can't read (more than 10 million per decade).
More than 20 million children in grades 3-12 in America's public schools today can't read!
Our organization is an 11 year old, nationwide, charitable 501 c 3 non-profit. We started out as a tutoring program and we still tutor. But our focus has always been on finding a scaleable solution to the literacy crisis in America.
With the rise of the smartphone and the amazing penetration of this powerful tool, even into the most impoverished communities, we feel that the answer we have been searching for IS in the form of an app. So for the past several years we have been working to convert our amazing reading curriculum that teaches children how to read in 12 hours, into an app that teaches children how to read in 12 hours. And this is where you come in.
We have a LOT of opportunity in front of us to build, test, and deliver an end user experience (the UX) to millions of children in America's inner cities and rural lands, to the barrios and the suburbs and American Indian reservations and everywhere in-between, with this smartphone app.
But in order to do this, we need to complete three pieces of the equation: The Horse, The Cart, and the Payload.
The Horse is the curriculum; it is well underway in the conversion process from an analog to a digital curriculum.
The Cart is the distribution system, the "how do we get it out into communities and to the children, once it's built?" Despite what some may think, just because we put an app in the App Store, doesn't mean it will go viral. There's an old adage that goes, "build a better mousetrap, and the world will NOT beat a path to your door!" You still have to market, publicize and distribute your invention, even if it's FREE, like ours!
And the Payload is the UX (the user experience). But it's not just the child (the ultimate beneficiary) who must enjoy the experience enough to continue through the progressive learning modules, it's also the parent, or guardian, or friend, or grandparent, or sibling, or concerned adult, who must be supported. And for that, we are building the support system and the support network that will scale with the app, and not constrain the growth and penetration of the app into the interstitial spaces of American society.
The UX must be tested and must be proven to work in a controlled environment before it is released into an uncontrolled environment like the App Store or Google Play, where its success will depend upon ease of use, ease of understanding and the support that we provide to caring adults who download the app for the purpose of saving their child from living a life of impoverishment, without education, and without hope.
That support network for caring adults will consist of in-app information as well as web-based content that they can refer to, in order to gain a better understanding of what the app is and how it works, and how they can best assist their child through the learning process.
In addition, all of our external communications will be supported and cross-connected through our website. Our brand, image, content and messaging will be a collaboration of our graphic design, UX, communications and web mastery teams.
As for the curriculum, we have approximately 1,500 of 2,000 screens completed. After the child learns the fundamentals of letters and sounds and how to blend sound symbols to form words and sentences (using a super-child-friendly, phonetic code called 21E), we transition them to English, where we utilize our patented diacritic decoding system to introduce them to the irregular letter patterns found in English spelling. From there, we continue to increase students' awareness of the various letter patterns and combinations, while simultaneously introducing them to more and more complex sentences, stories and interactive, fiction and non-fiction content. Our Curriculum Content Development team will be helping to build the final five modules plus additional content (300-500 screens) of the app and will be sourcing additional books, stories, games, puzzles and other content that children will transition to (a content library) after they have finished the 12-hour structured curriculum.
All of this development, whether it's the curriculum, the distribution system or the user experience, takes graphic design production and support. We are building our curriculum using Adobe Suite and Sketch. We are sourcing images and other assets primarily through free photo websites. We deliver a set of completed modules at the end of each 2 week sprint to our engineering partner. When they deliver the fully interactive modules back to us, we perform quality control and check all of the assets, narrations, animations and UI for errors and omissions. Our Marketing and Distribution teams, Web Mastery and UX Beta teams will also require additional graphic support as we progress through the spring and summer.
There's much more to tell. You can read more about our story and about us on our website at www.YouthLit.org.
All of this requires Adobe Suite support, so right now we are looking for 3 very special people to be a part of our Lead Design Team.
We are looking for 3 very special people who have everything we mentioned above, including: passion, expertise and time to join our already amazing team of people, and to help us launch this app this Thanksgiving, 2020.
The Lead Design Team will hire future designers for specific tasking as needed. If you are interested in becoming a "task specific" graphic design team member, please also contact us, as we are considering expanding our capacity with additional team members soon.
If you wish to be considered for this opportunity to be a member of our Lead Design Team, please send us a cover letter and resume to hr@YouthLit.org.
We are looking for intelligent, creative, enthusiastic, cheerful, optimistic individuals with significant experience in both digital and print media. We are looking for hands on, "can do" individuals who are willing to execute production tasks. And we are looking for designers who have extensive experience in Adobe Creative Suite and basic familiarity with or willingness to quickly learn Sketch.
The ideal candidate:
This is a complex undertaking and we are seeking highly proficient and organized individuals to help build the materials needed for an effective product launch.
Just to be clear, our organization is an extended, virtual network, comprised of individuals from around the country who collaborate through digital, internet-based tools. Individuals interested in this position should have experience organizing tasking across a variety of networks and platforms.
Thank you! We hope this opportunity finds you at the right place and the right time in your career to make a difference and an impact, in an amazing way, for millions of children who are waiting for someone, or some thing, to lead them out of a life of impoverishment, to help them get through this COVID-19 setback, and help them surge into a future of unlimited possibility and potential.
Mr. R. Kali Woodward
Founding, Executive Director
492 REGINALD LN, COLLEGEVILLE, PA 19426, US
The mission of the American Youth Literacy Foundation is to help ALL American children become literate before they reach the end of 5th grade by providing simple, phonics-based tools and reading curricula, together with training and support, to parents, teachers, tutors and organizations that work directly with students in need.
In support of our mission, Youth Lit develops and directs free after school tutoring programs in association with public libraries, YMCA's and other community outreach organizations. Most of our tutors are high school and college student volunteers who are earning community service credits while making a valuable contribution to their communities.
We'll work with your schedule.
Seattle and vicinitySeattle, WA 98106
May 28, 2020