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 last May), which was a worldwide competition for app "design and development" teams 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 basic learning tools, and another 4-6 hours for them to reach a 2nd grade reading level. Compare this to so many of our students who have been in the public school system for 6 years and still can't spell simple words like "the, said, was, would, could, there or which." Compare this to millions of students who have dropped out of school, primarily because they can't read (more than 10 million per decade (25% according to U.S. Government statistics)).
More than 20 million children in grades 3-12 in America's public schools today are either completely or functionally illiterate, according to the U.S. Government’s "Annual Report Card."
Our organization is a nearly 12 year old, nationwide, charitable 501 c 3 non-profit. We started out as a tutoring program in Philadelphia and central New Jersey, and we still provide one-on-one tutoring. But our focus has always been on finding a scalable solution to the literacy crisis in America.
With the rise of the smartphone and the amazing penetration of this powerful tool (currently estimated at 80%), even into the most impoverished communities, we feel that the answer we have been searching for ABSOLUTELY comes 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 an average of just 12 hours, into an app that teaches children how to read in about the same time. And this is where you come in.
We have a LOT of opportunity in front of us to finish building and testing, and, ultimately, to deliver an end-user experience (the UX) to millions of children in America's inner cities and rural counties, in the barrios and the suburbs, and on the 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; and it is well under way in the conversion process from an analog to a digital curriculum. (We have designed already 1,500 of the nearly 2,000 screen, fully narrated, reading learning experience.)
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! More on "The Cart," in a moment.
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 vast layers and interconnected folds of American society.
The UX is being tested and empowered 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, without access to information, and without hope.
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. The specific software we use to update and improve our website will be determined soon, after we have assessed all of the new component parts we wish to include in our web presence.
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 10 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 (an interactive "Content Library") after they have finished the 12-hour structured curriculum.
There's much more to tell. You can read more about our story and about us on our website at www.YouthLit.org , however, keep in mind that many updates to that website are coming soon!
Meanwhile, our Engineering team, they will be working to prepare the app for launch this Thanksgiving, 2020 by coordinating with our NY-based engineering partner to ensure usability and compatibility with a variety of iOS devices.
As for our Community Outreach / Distribution Team, our challenge is to bring the app to children who are not learning how to read in school, either because they are in schools that are failing or because they are in difficult situations at home for a variety of reasons. Many parents are desperate for an education solution for their children, but the challenge of teaching reading to children is too great for teachers on their own with upwards of 40+ children in a class in many cases, combined with a reading curriculum that is confusing and doesn’t scale. Children get lost, confused and bored, and many of them act out, forcing teachers to focus on classroom management as opposed to classroom learning. The real literacy rates in so many thousands of America’s elementary schools are 20% or less in 3rd grade and beyond! But this doesn’t have to be this way and FUNetix is going to change ALL of this, soon!
Our Community Outreach Team Leads will be building relationships with community leaders of all types and varieties to first, assess needs, and then deliver solutions to millions of parents who have no other place to turn. Our goal is not simply to tell parents what WE have, but rather, to listen to their needs vicariously, through our community advocates, in order to best tailor our app-based solution to meet THEIR needs.
We are partnering with thought leaders, community leaders, religious leaders, other non-profits and NGO’s, national leaders, role models, such as entertainment and sports figures, corporate leaders and philanthropists, and any and all people and organizations who are focused on fundamentally and permanently improving the education landscape for ALL of America’s children.
Our Community Outreach and Distribution Team Leads are individuals with diverse backgrounds and with diverse interests and talents, but most of all, they are individuals who have a willingness to reach out to communities in need and to the leaders within those communities, as well as to other leaders who can help make a difference.
If you wish to be considered for this opportunity to be one of the three leads for our Community Outreach/Distribution Team, please send us a cover letter and resume to HR@YouthLit.org.
We are looking for intelligent, creative, outgoing, enthusiastic, cheerful, optimistic individuals with significant real world experience and a willingness to both talk and listen to people and to identify ways to best share the benefits of our app with children in need. This is a complex undertaking and we are looking for highly proficient and organized professionals.
Just to be clear, our organization is an all volunteer, mission-centric, extended virtual network, comprised of highly skilled and experienced individuals from around the country (and a few from around the world) who collaborate through cloud-based technology and platforms. Individuals interested in this position must have the confidence and ability to work in a virtual environment using select networking and communications tools and platforms. Given the current "social distancing" environment that we find ourselves in, individuals must also be willing to pick up the phone, send out emails, schedule Zoom meetings and use other communications technologies to contact and build relationships with our target audience.
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 and into a future of unlimited possibility and potential.
We look forward to hearing from you and speaking with you about the future of literacy in America.
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.
Children & Youth
Education & Literacy
We'll work with your schedule.
Manhattan and VicinityManhattan, NY10002
January 18, 2021
Resource Development / Management
Periodic meetings with tasking in-between; as much time as you can commit. Your ability to commit time to this will be a determining factor. If you can only commit limited time but still want to participate, we will keep your resume on file.