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Mission Statement: Our mission is to make one-on-one instruction in basic academic skills accessible to adults living in southern Berkshire County. Through the use of community volunteers trained by Literacy Network staff, we provide instruction on a confidential basis in reading, math, obtaining a high-school equivalency diploma, and learning English as a second language. All services are provided without charge and tailored to the individual student's learning needs. We are committed to making learning a lifelong endeavor enriching the lives of both individual learners and our communities.
Literacy Network began in October 1991 under the sponsorship of the Lee Library Association, which generously continues to provide office space and other support for the program. We began primarily to address the needs of the rural non-reader, then expanded to include those wanting to take the high school equivalency exam (GED) and the growing number of immigrants wanting to learn English. Literacy Network's budget was met totally by state and federal grants until September 1995. Whenthat funding was discontinued, agency leaders obtained a 501(c)(3) non-profit designation, and now Literacy Network relies on private funding.The Problem
v Statistics vary, but a recent Labor Department study estimated that there were more than 4,000 functionally illiterate adults over 25 in Berkshire County.
v There are 12,000 adults (over 25) in Berkshire County who do not have high school diplomas. (Source: U.S. Census, 2000)
v Berkshire County is home to about 12,000 immigrants. Increasing immigration to South County has meant a rapidly growing demand for teaching English as a second language.
v Both education and the ability to speak English proficiently are essential for success in the Massachusetts economy. On average, an immigrant who primarily speaks English earned 2.5 times as much as an immigrant who did not speak English well. (Source: "The Changing Face of Massachusetts," a 2005 MassINC study)What We Do
v Provide more than 100 students with free, confidential, one-on-one tutoring each year.
v Offer tutoring sessions, at mutually convenient times, to those whose workplace or family demands prevent attendance of adult education classes.
v Have about 100 active volunteer tutors donating 9,400 hours annually - a value of $176,400 !
v Supply training, workshops, materials, and ongoing support for new and experienced tutors during the year.The Organization
v Literacy Network is managed by an active Board of Directors.
v We have a staff of four: an Education Director; an Education Coordinator, who focuses on matching students to tutors; a Development Director; and a Bookkeeper.
v We are funded by individuals, businesses, foundation grants, and benefits. We get no state or federal funding, and rely upon the generosity of the community.
- Margaret Swann
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