2015 Beneficiary - Mid-State Literacy Council
Illiteracy is a major indicator of poverty and poor health, and can make people feel excluded from their communities. Approximately 12 percent of adults in Centre and Clearfield counties are considered functionally illiterate, meaning that they do not have the minimal reading, writing, or math skills to navigate everyday life.
The Mid-State Literacy Council (MSLC) is a non-profit organization working to change those circumstances by teaching adults essential skills. MSLC offers individual tutoring to adults with low literacy skills in Centre and Clearfield counties. With help from trained volunteer tutors, students have learned to read, earned their GEDs, found employment, received promotions at work, obtained Commercial Driver’s Licenses, and achieved successes that would have been nearly impossible without the support of MSLC.
MSLC also works with English Language Learners to help them feel comfortable holding conversations with healthcare providers and their children’s school teachers, learn the English reading and writing skills necessary for college entrance exams, and navigate their new communities. The organization provides individual tutoring and a variety of classes to help students improve their English reading, writing, and conversational skills, as well as guide some students through the citizenship application process.
In 2014, 205 trained tutors provided 11,986 hours of instruction to 366 adult learners. Those numbers translate to real-life stories of success and accomplishment.
MSLC’s ability to provide extensive instruction has continued despite an ongoing fiscal crisis. Prior to 2011, government funding supported the majority of MSLC’s expenses. Since 2011, MSLC has not received any government funding, and has had to rely entirely on community generosity and donors like the Tussey mOUnTaiNBACK to continue providing essential literacy services.
Over the years, our community’s need for literacy education has grown. Part of that growth has occurred because of the many new residents from other countries that have settled in the Centre County area and need English language instruction. We have also seen a rise in the number of local residents who find their reading, writing, math, and computing skills inadequate for employment.
The Mid-State Literacy Council is a testament to the power of an idea. It was Ruth Kistler of State College who had the idea 53 years ago that she and her friends could make a difference in the lives of people who could not read. She recognized a need and set about to fill that need. Incidentally, at the age of 91, Ruth is still making a difference, as one of our office volunteers.
The services that MSLC offers are essential for the health of our community. Basic literacy skills are necessary for reading instructions on medicine labels, filling out work applications and drafting resumes, understanding utility bills, and navigating hundreds of other everyday situations.
Children’s literacy and family literacy are also core missions of MSLC’s team. We are beginning our fourth annual children’s book drive for children who do not have books at home to read throughout the summer months. Children must read over the summer in order to maintain their literacy skills.
We are grateful to the many volunteers who support literacy. We are inspired by students who are determined to learn and achieve.
The mOUnTaiNBACK is thrilled to be supporting the Mid-State Literacy Council in 2015. We encourage you to make a donation today at: