The Kalamazoo Literacy Council (KLC) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization committed to enhancing the lives of adults by improving their reading ,writing, spelling and comprehension skills. The KLC was founded in 1974 and is the only organization in Kalamazoo County with the exclusive purpose of providing free basic literacy instruction to adults. For more than 40 years the organization has been the leading voice for the cause of adult literacy, mobilizing and training volunteer tutors to teach struggling adult readers throughout the county.
In Kalamazoo County, over 25,000 people or 13% of adults cannot read a job or assistance application,a simply story to a child, an intersection on a map, a prescription label, or total purchases from an orderform (National Institute for Literacy). Their lives are often linked to poverty, crime, poor health, and their children are more likely to struggle in school. The overarching goal of the KLC is to empower adults to reach their full potential in the workforce, in their own and their children’s education, and in managing their health by improving their literacy skills. The KLC seeks to achieve this goal through four programs:
Adult Tutoring Program: The KLC offers free literacy tutoring and free educational materials to adults who have been evaluated by the KLC. It also provides 14 hours of tutor training for qualified volunteers in the Laubach Method. Presently, the KLC has approximately 200 volunteer tutors committed to a minimum of a year of service. The organization administers assessments to determine the reading level of students. The KLC then matches a trained tutor with an adult student to engage in weekly two-hour tutoring sessions. The KLC also administers pre– and post-tests to measure progress toward workforce, educational and personal goals.
Adult Literacy Collaborative (ALC) of Kalamazoo County: The Adult Literacy Collaborative (ALC) of Kalamazoo County is a group of nearly 30 adult education, workforce development, English as a Second Language (ESL), literacy agencies, and community organizations that meets monthly to determine adult literacy priorities, identify and expand resources, and align services and programs in the county. It has provided a collective voice for adult literacy since its inception in September 2010 and is the primary forum for shaping community-level goals for adult literacy in Kalamazoo County. In November 2012, the ALC became the Adult Learning Action Network for The Learning Network of Greater Kalamazoo. The KLC serves as its facilitating agency.
Everyone Needs to Read (ENT-R) Program: ENT-R is a public awareness effort to improve the literacy skills of adults in Kalamazoo County and increase access to literacy services for these adults. ENT-R will help individuals and organizations find information about how to get a tutor or other literacy services through web, print media, speaking engagements and other means. It will also inform the public at large about literacy issues through public media and other promotional vehicles.
The KLC serves adults ages 18 and older who are reading at or below the 6th grade level. The impact the KLC had on the thousands of adults it has helped learn to read in its history is substantial. Students have used their improved literacy skills to build work readiness skills, apply for and secure employment, receive advances and promotions and become more self-sufficient in their careers and in their daily lives.
Geographic Area Served
The geographic area served by the KLC is Kalamazoo County. Tutoring takes places in more than 30 community sites throughout the county including libraries, community centers, book stores, schools, churches, human service organizations, and other locations.
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