By Roberta Roth, literacy outreach specialist.
You who are reading this article are presumably not finding it to be a challenge. Unfortunately, this is not true for 15 percent of the adults in San Mateo County. That is why Project Read-Menlo Park exists, to increase literacy in adults to enable them to improve their lives and those of their families, and to actively contribute to their community.
Indeed, in these times it has never been more important to reach out to those in our community who struggle with basic literacy. Reading and writing are fundamental skills for building better lives. Those who are able to read and complete job applications, obtain a GED certificate, attend college and otherwise comprehend the information associated with securing work will be employable.
Isis, an adult student with Project Read, is an example of the transformation literacy has on a person's life: "Thanks to Project Read I was encouraged to pursue my goal to go to college and follow my dream to become a fashion designer. Because of my tutor and Project Read I feel more comfortable in an academic environment. Before I joined Project Read I was at a fifth-grade level and my spelling was even worse. I still don't feel I am at a college level, but I feel like I am definitely getting there."
Project Read, which has been providing free adult literacy instruction for 27 years, currently has more than 100 adult students in our one-to-one tutoring program and English as a Second Language classes at the Belle Haven Community School. These adults not only increase their own literacy, but also apply their knowledge and confidence at home, impacting a new generation of readers and strengthening families.
Individuals and groups can help Project Read in a variety of ways:
• Become a one-to-one tutor. We have students on our waiting list.
• Volunteer to help adults learn new computer skills.
• Contact us or check out our listings on VolunteerMatch: volunteermatch.org.
• Present our program to your HR Department /organization/club.
• Become a board member of Project Read-Menlo Park Literacy Partners.
Project Read-Menlo Park relies on support from individuals, local businesses, foundations, the Friends of the Menlo Park Library and government. In 2010, a nonprofit arm, Project Read-Menlo Park Literacy Partners, was established to increase our funding base and ensure sustainable funding for the future.
Visit projectreadmenlopark.org, the Menlo Park Library (800 Alma St.), or call (650) 330-2525 for more information.