We’re Moving!

 

The Literacy Center is moving and need your help to get it done.

GED Enrollment

This location fit us well during the last 4 years but we have experienced overcrowding at this  location for some time despite providing programming at four additional community locations, so it is a great time for us to look for space that better meets our needs.

We have experienced great growth over the last several years and have been ‘making do’ with the space we had.  Here is a snapshot of enrollment and specifically growth in the GED program during this time period.

We are currently serving nearly 600 students at the Literacy Center with 60 classes each week in the areas of Adult Basic Education, English as a Second Language, GED and Computer Literacy.

Additionally we have classes serving students at four off-site locations (South Omaha, Millard, and La Vista Libraries as well as Park Ave. Commons).

As we move forward our priorities are:

1. Assessing our actual needs
2. Securing a space that:
-better accommodates our growing programs
-is more centrally located as we serve students in the tri-county area
-is easily accessible by bus and car
3. Provide a smooth transition for our students, volunteers and staff

 This is an exciting time for the Literacy Center.

As a supporter of the Literacy Center we want to be sure to keep you informed during this transition. If you have any questions or would like to further discuss please let me know.

Yours in service,

Kirsten R. Case
Executive Director
(402) 342-7323

Debra’s Story of Achievement

 

Debra had a secret.  Most days, she was able to hide it from the world.  Then came the day when her oldest child asked her to help with a homework assignment.  Debra’s heart sank as she gently told her child she couldn’t help right now.  Her secret was keeping her from the simple act of helping her child.  Debra’s secret?  She is functionally illiterate.

 

Debra is one of over 500 adults that have Deb's bannercome to the Literacy Center for help this year.   We are dedicated to helping adults and families by providing free services to improve their reading abilities so they can do all the simple things we take for granted – such as reading this email, a bedtime book to our children, helping with homework, understanding a doctor’s instructions, or comprehending a job application.

 

Debra stopped going to school in 8th grade but never lost sight of the value of education for her own children.  When her child asked her for homework help and she could not give it, she realized she wanted her secret life – a life filled with shame, regret and fear – to be over.

 

When she found the Literacy Center Debra was especially worried about the cost, because with three children and being unemployed, household finances were stretched to the limit.  She was relieved to learn (thanks to generous donations) she would not have to pay any fees to join the GED program.  Her dream to finally earn her high school diploma could begin!

 

Debra had to work hard, but the one-on-one attention and mentoring from one of our volunteers made it much easier for her to focus on her goal.  The Literacy Center also taught her “technology” literacy in their computer lab because technology is such an important part of our daily lives – from banking, to applying for a job.

 

When she joined the program in April, Debra tested at a second grade reading level.  Today, she is preparing to take her final GED test to earn her high school equivalency diploma!

 

Thanks to caring donors like you, Debra has new dreams now – dreams she never dared to even consider before coming to the Literacy Center.  Not only can she help her children with homework, she wants to give back to the community by becoming a nurse. For the people that made the GED program possible for Debra, this is the biggest and best return on investment they could ever imagine.

 

Keeping services at low or no cost is essential to help adults living with the secret of illiteracy.  Their fear of failure is so great, any barriers – no matter how small – can seem impossible.  They feel they are trapped, and without you, they lack hope and opportunity.

 

I hope you will consider making a gift today – an investment – to support the good work of the Literacy Center.  On behalf of the staff, board of directors, volunteers, and especially Debra, thank you for your support!

NEW: T-shirt special for the holidays

This is the perfect Give-Give-Give and is way better than a win-win!

Give $25 to Give a t-shirt to your favorite reader (or just keep it for yourself) and Give the gift of literacy to a hard-working adult in our community. Everyone wins!

Donations must be made to the Literacy Center between Dec 9th and Dec 20, 2013 to receive this free, limited edition t-shirt.

It’s the perfect gift for the big reader on your list that has it all!

Or keep it. Because it’s that cool and all your friends will be envious.

Click here to make your donation today!  Please indicate what size shirt you would like when you make your donation.

Hurry so you and your friends can look like these cool people and support adults learning to read or finish their GED at the same time.
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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.

SpellingBee-DF04-(ZF-3495-61372-1-002)

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 Omaha.com article for more information.