The Montgomery County Literacy Council was started in July 2021 to help Montgomery County residents without high school diplomas. During that time, the Council has raised thousands of dollars in …
The Montgomery County Literacy Council was started in July 2021 to help Montgomery County residents without high school diplomas. During that time, the Council has raised thousands of dollars in grant money to further the program and purchase technology so that they can provide the best possible skills training. Enrollment has tripled since they started their efforts and several students have graduated by taking the HiSet test to get their high school equivalent degree.
“This year promises to be even better,” Council president Laura Burnham said. “We have started a daytime class in addition to our evening classes so that we can offer our free services to more people. What we need most is community support so that more people will learn about us. We want everyone who could use our services to come to our free classes.”
Classes are currently being held in the basement of the Health Department on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and on Monday and Wednesday mornings.
“People know that without a high school diploma or equivalent you can’t get a good paying job. Lacking reading, math and computer skills holds many county residents back from their full potential,” Burnham added. “The Literacy Council is committed to changing that by continuing to offer free services. Whenever we talk to people in the community, we encourage them to help us spread the word.”
Community support in the form of word-of-mouth referrals has been a large part of the program’s growth and most of the current students say that is how they heard about the Literacy Council.
“We depend on family and friends to encourage our students to start and stay with the program,” teacher Shawna McKellar said. “It takes courage and commitment to go back to school.”
There are many ways for anyone to get involved: join the Literacy Council, become a classroom tutor, call the state representatives to encourage their support, invite the Council to speak to a community group, and most of all, tell friends and family about their services.
Those wishing to encourage Congress people for more state support for adult literacy programs can contact either Senator Travis Fitzwater (573-751-2757) and/or Representative Jeff Myers (573-751-2689).
Anyone who is interested in getting involved at the county level can leave a message at the Montgomery City Public Library.
To continue their community outreach, the Literacy Council will be holding another Resource and Job Fair this spring on April 2 from noon-3 p.m. at Reach Church. This is just one more way to get the word out about their program and the many services offered by other county groups.
Anyone who is interested in the free classes can contact the East Central College main office at eastcentral.edu/AEL or by calling 844-322-4235.
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