There are many Gofundme campaigns to give aid to people in desperate times. Those causes are noble. However, think for a moment about donating to a cause that strives for prevention. This program offers important life skills and coping skills, along with ESL and literacy programs, to adults who don’t have another place to learn.
Unless you’ve lived in a foreign country and have had to learn to manage trivial things, like a package delivery, or a serious matter, such as an ER visit, it is easy to overlook how vital these skills are. I have been lucky. I’ve been abroad with support from a university and my husband. I will never be the mother trying to figure out childcare, doctor’s visits, or finances in a foreign country. I will never be the woman with no independence because I wasn’t allowed an education as a child.
Without the ability to effectively communicate people can’t get help and they have a harder time helping themselves.
Literacy and ESL keep people safer. It helps give women agency and keeps them out of dangerous situations and shelters. Education fights poverty and extremism. Sadly, our government is cutting funding to programs like LVA that help adults.
Submitted by Cynthia Dretel, expat in Germany and daughter of Literacy Volunteer’s Program Director, Katherine Micale.
Crime, poverty, health, unemployment, school readiness. Every important social issue faced in the community is impacted by low literacy. Children of parents with low literacy skills have a 72 percent chance of being at the lowest reading levels themselves. These children are more likely to get poor grades, display behavioral problems, have high absentee rates, repeat school years or drop out, according to ProLiteracy, a national adult literacy organization.
Thirty-six million adults in the U.S. cannot read, write or do basic math above a third grade level; 43 percent of low literacy adults live in poverty; $225 billion is lost in non-productivity in the workforce, crime and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment; $232 billion in health care costs are linked to low literacy.
A local organization, Literacy Volunteers Association — Cape Atlantic (LVA), provides free services to adults in Atlantic and Cape May counties with a vision to create a culture where 100 percent literacy is the norm. Volunteer tutors provide literacy education for adults to become more successful employees, parents, consumers and citizens.
There are many ways to help. The LVA needs volunteers to tutor students throughout the region. And, the group is currently recruiting board members to help meet its admirable mission. Corporate and individual financial support to fund student materials, tutor training, staff and property expenses is critical to keep program services at current levels.
Literacy Volunteers Association — Cape Atlantic Inc.
Volunteer board president