Breaking Secrecy and the Cycle of Illiteracy

“I have a pact with my mom, she helps me prepare for tests and in return, I help with her English homework. Can you keep a secret? I don’t need help, I just pretend, so that later I can help her. She feels bad that she cannot read to me. Promise, you will not tell!” says Julie, the 12-year old daughter of our adult learner Sandra.

Sandra, like many of our students, works diligently to improve her literacy skills. With encouragement and support from her volunteer tutor, she is building confidence and replacing her fears of failure with a thirst for learning. Here is what motivates her: “I don’t want Julie to be my translator all my life. I joined Literacy Program so I can help my daughters succeed. I want to read books with them especially Judy Blume. I want to know why Julie likes it so much.”

Most of the students at Literacy Program have busy lives, support a growing family, work two jobs and are trying to meet the basic needs: a place to live and food to eat. BUT this does not stop them! They work hard to achieve their hopes and dreams through literacy. And our volunteer tutors are with them every step of the way because they know that Literacy is the key to solving many community and family problems.

In the last fiscal year (FY16-17), we worked with a strong team of over 250 volunteer-tutors to help more than 450 students and 77% of our students gained one or more reading levels as measured by California Department of Education.

  • 63% of adult learners increased involvement in children’s education thus providing a better path for their children to succeed
  • 86% of our adult learners showed an increase in income over time and were able to meet their personal income goal.
  • 100% of the employers are satisfied with the workplace program; Communication between supervisors has improved and strengthened team dynamics
  • 83% of inmates gained one or more reading level; 4 awarded High School Diploma

These positive outcomes lead to the growth of Santa Cruz County:

  • Children succeed when their parents can read!

“My tutor Darrell read ‘Goodnight Moon’ to his kids and gifted it to me. Now I am reading it to my son- Aaron and he loves it. He asks me to read it every night and keeps the book under his pillow! I feel happy when Aaron sleeps with a smile on his face.” says Elmer, a student at the Literacy Program.

Seeing the father and son duo form a strong bond, Elmer’s wife Sandra also wants to be part of this special ritual each night. She has decided to enroll in the Literacy Program and work with a tutor-volunteer.

We know that children who are read to by their parents do better in school and life.

  • Literacy reduces unemployment and provides a path out of poverty

Joseph says, “Before I joined the literacy program I did not have a job. I was struggling to find one and was feeling worthless. After working with Daniel, my tutor, I got a job at Tesla! I can’t thank Daniel enough.”

People who can read, write and speak English well are more likely to be hired, get promotions and work for living wages.

  • Reducing Recidivism and Restoring Justice

Inmates who participate in correctional education programs have 43 percent lower odds of returning to prison than those who do not

One current student at Santa Cruz County Main Jail says “It is very important to know some English out there, especially to find work, but also if you want to talk with your kids, who are learning English. I want to make them proud.”

When we give families the gift of Literacy, they benefit immensely and our community does as well through reducing poverty, more successful children, and lower crime. But we can’t do it without YOUR help! We have 60 people on the waiting list and need to raise $30,000 to sustain our work in the community. When you make a donation to the Literacy Program, you are investing in creating strong, capable and economically successful families who are an asset to our community.

Your gift can also make TWICE the impact, thanks to our generous local donors who will match all donations to Literacy Challenge Fund.

Please make a gift today, to secure a better future for hard working families in our community. 

Contribute to the Literacy Challenge Fund

 

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