According to a 2003 study conducted by the National Institute for Literacy, 12% of the adults in Greenville County function on the two lowest literacy levels. In addition, many individuals among the large immigrant population in Greenville need to improve their English proficiency to function successfully not only in the job market, but with needs of daily life, including medical care and grocery shopping.
The Greenville Literacy Association, with its community partners, provides programs to address these problems. Founded over forty years ago, Greenville Literacy is now the largest community-based literacy program in South Carolina. A ProLiteracy of America affiliate, Greenville Literacy ranks among the top 3% of adult literacy programs in the nation in both the number of students served and the number of volunteer tutors.
Starting with a shelf in a church Sunday School room, the organization has grown to include five learning centers in Greenville County as well as off-site classes at churches and community centers. The Greenville Literacy centers are located near the students they serve because work schedules and lack of transportation can be barriers to attendance. The centers offer Adult Basic Education, Pre-GED, and English as a Second Language instruction, in both one-on-one tutoring sessions as well as small groups.
Greenville Literacy collaborates with Greenville County Schools and Greenville Tech to provide adults a sequential plan of study. By becoming a partner with the SC Works Workforce Development System in 2003, Greenville Literacy is also part of the community network to help displaced workers improve their job opportunities.
Greenville Literacy’s impact on the community is significant. In the 2011-2012 fiscal year, 1,817 adult students participated in literacy programs conducted by 433 active volunteer tutors. Volunteers provided over 30,278 hours of assistance, not only in tutoring students but also with computer lab and family literacy support, office tasks, and the annual book sale. [read more...]