Adult Literacy Program Seeks More Tutors For 2019
The Project READ adult literacy program serving Champaign and surrounding counties wants to serve more people in 2019. And to do that, they need more people to volunteer as tutors.
Project READ at Parkland has about 50 tutors right now. In the current fiscal year that started July 1st, they’ve helped about 215 adults with their literacy, math and English skills.
Amanda Harris, the project manager for Project READ at Parkland's Adult Education and Workforce Development department, says the goal is to tutor 300 adults this fiscal year, as the program continues to rebuild from a period when it was closed, due to the state budget impasse.
Project READ tutors are not paid, but Harris say they tell her that the personal rewards of their work include seeing the impact they can have in helping others learn vital skills.
“So you have that immediate sense of impact, that you’re actually using your time in a way that really does make a difference for somebody and help somebody,” said Harris. “But then, you also have that sense of long-term contribution to the community.”
Harris says those qualifying to receive tutoring are 17-year-old or older, with a grade level equivalency approximately below the 9th grade level. Their ages range from the minimum qualifying age to over 70, and many are immigrants. Harris says common goals for those seeking tutoring are to pass their GED or improve their job prospects.
Harris says tutors and the adult learners they instruct usually meet at designated drop-in sites in Champaign-Urbana. But she says they can also meet at public places throughout the Parkland Community College District, which covers most of Champaign, Ford, Piatt and Douglas Counties, plus smaller parts of eight neighboring counties.
“And then, when we are able to match a tutor and a learner to meet together in a public setting like a library or a coffee shop regularly with our support and the resources that we provide here at Project READ, it can actually happen anywhere,” said Harris.
Harris says Project READ volunteer tutors must have a high school degree or equivalent. They receive about 14 hours of training, both in-person and online.
An introductory tutoring training session for Project READ volunteers is scheduled for Monday, January 14, from 6 to 8 PM at the school library of the Booker T. Washington STEM Academy, 606 Grove Street in Champaign. Other upcoming training sessions are scheduled for January 26 at Parkland College, January 30 at the Wesley Student Center on the University of Illinois campus, and February 2 at the Moyer District Library in Gibson City.
People interested in becoming a tutor or receiving turtoring from Project READ can contact them at 217/353-2662 or ProjectREAD@parkland.edu . The program also has a Facebook page, Project READ at Parkland College Adult Ed.