LinkedIn Innovation Grant

The Literacy Center recently received a $10,000 Innovation Grant on behalf of the LinkedIn for Good Foundation. Innovation Grants are awarded to LinkedIn employee-championed nonprofits and initiatives that are taking intelligent risks to solve the world’s most pressing problems.

Virginia Roode, a LinkedIn employee, applied for the grant on the Literacy Center’s behalf, outlining how the nonprofit organization will use the money to improve the services provided to its students. The grant will provide funding for the ASSET program (Adult Student Success through Emerging Technology) and will purchase new laptops, pc computers, tablets, software and video conference equipment for e-learning.

“E-learning is essential for Literacy Center students who otherwise would not be able to participate due to lack of transportation, health concerns or time constraints, “says Roode. “The money provided by LinkedIn will make a difference for these potential students, as well as students it currently serves.”

The Literacy Center educates more than 450 adult students, with the support of nearly 150 community volunteers, from the Douglas, Sarpy and Pottawattamie counties through one-on-one tutoring and small classroom instruction in basic reading, English as a second language and GED preparation.

According to Literacy Center Executive Director Kirsten Case, extreme growth of 150% over the past 18 months has forced the organization to freeze enrollment twice, due to a lack of space, volunteer teachers to serve students and learning materials. “By moving curriculum online, the Literacy Center can reach more students and ensure they are proficient in current technology,” says Case. “We’re thankful for Virginia for her work in securing this grant from LinkedIn.”

Roode looks forward to seeing the grant’s impact on the Literacy Center programs and the students it serves. “The students at the Literacy Center are my heroes and I am so proud of their accomplishments and never giving up on their goals.”

Literacy Center raises over $20,000 at 6th Annual Spelling Bee


A frolic through the dictionary gave the community a fun way to get involved in helping adults learn to read. The sixth annual Adult Spelling Bee, held November 15 at the Scott Conference Center, raised more than $20,000 for the Literacy Center.SpellingBee-DF06-(ZF-3495-61372-1-007)

Enthusiasm for words and spelling comes from the knowledge that words make life better, which is the motto of the Literacy Center, says Executive Director Kirsten Case.

“The Center helps hardworking people acquire the practical skills to make them more active and contributing members of our community,” Case says. “From reading a food label, to writing a check, to reading their mail, the Center does more than help people learn to read books. We help people lead better lives.”

Twelve community and corporate teams of three adults each, tested their word-knowledge and spell-ability. While the competition was friendly, it was also fierce as the logophiles vied for  trophies including:

SpellingBee-DF05-(ZF-3495-61372-1-003)Best of Hive – Omaha Public Library
Runner-up Best of Hive – Omaha World Herald
Best Costume – The Reading Divas
Best Team Spirit – Exoteric Book Club

The audience of over 150 included closet bibliophiles and philomaths, who took part in an audience spelling quiz.

Expert speller Emma Johanningsmeier, a semi finalist in the 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee, was on hand to offer expert advice to the contestants.

Listening to every vowel and consonant was the panel of judges: Andrea Hoig – metroMagazine, John Heaston – The Reader and Ellen Scott – The Bookworm.  They were joined by our expert pronouncer Robert Dornsife from Creighton University and emcee Alex Hoffman, First News anchor KETV.

Honorary chairs for the Spelling Bee were Chris and Sharlon Rodgers.


KETV story on the GED changes

People that do not complete all 5 exams prior to Dec 31 will have to start over.KETV logo parts - 001

Starting January 1, 2014 all people needing their GED will have to complete a new set of exams, pay more for each proctored exam, and have to use an on-line system.

The Literacy Center has seen a 51% increase in their GED program over the last year as we’ve worked to help area students complete their GED before the changes take effect and efforts are already underway to begin helping students for the 2014 GED exams.

Click here for the full story.

6th Annual Spelling Bee

The evening promises to be full of excitement, as teams of 3 adults battle it out to be Bee Logothe “Best of the Hive” trophy winner. Your support helps the Literacy Center provide one-on-one tutoring and small classroom instruction to nearly 500 adult students working to improve their lives.

Join us Friday, November 15, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. at the Scott Conference Center.

Click here to register.

Literacy Center to partner with Bank of the West

The Literacy Center is pleased to announce a new partnership with Bank of the West. Recognizing that many of their clients do not possess basic money management or financial skills, the Literacy Center and Bank of the West will offer a 5 week financial literacy course, April 24-May 22nd, teaching adult learners the importance of good credit, the value of saving and how to manage a checking account.

“Basic literacy skills and financial knowledge many times go hand in hand. We recognize that in order for our students to become self-sufficient, it is important that we give them the tools and resources they need to move toward financial security,” said Literacy Center Executive Director Kirsten Case.

“Bank of the West is proud to partner with the Literacy Center to deliver financial literacy programming. Through this partnership, we are helping to serve the community development needs of Omaha” said Alec Gorynski, Vice President of Community Affairs for Bank of the West.

The course will be taught by a Bank of the West banker and further supported by an operating grant. If the course is well received, the organizations will explore offering the course on a more permanent basis.

Changes in GED Testing

Adults who’ve begun working toward their GED are being urged to finish up this year, before the test for a high school equivalency diploma changes and they have to start all over.

Changes include moving from 5 exams to 4 exams and computer-only proctored exams, to name a few.

Check out the article for more information.