The Great Plains Literacy Council hosted the annual Literacy Appreciation Luncheon at the Altus Public Library on Sept. 14. The purpose of the luncheon was to thank adult learners, tutors, volunteers, and contributors for their roles in the literacy programs.
“Our Learning Journey” was the theme of the occasion held during September as part of Literacy Month in Oklahoma as declared by Governor Mary Fallin. Containers of sunflowers, provided by Jacquelyn Parrish and Pat Colville, were used on the tables.
GPLC President Bruce Davis welcomed those in attendance after the luncheon. Board member Rick Cheaney opened the program with a prayer before introductions were made. Mr. Davis thanked the GPLC board members, staff, and adult learners Kimly Pang and Robert and Judy Hu for providing food for the tasty meal.
President Davis also recognized the other current board of directors including Vice President Gayla Smith, Secretary Donna Revilla, Treasurer Kathy Hale, Cindy Allen, Rick Cheaney, Kristen Balko, Doug Dalton, Ryan Howard, Carlos Mendoza, Lori Miller, Jacquelyn Parrish, Mel Rader, Suzanne Rooker, Kristen Shelby of Hollis, and Eddie Wilcoxen. Appreciation was expressed to outgoing GPLC board members Sharon Duffy and Nancy Evans of Altus, Rana Womack of Duke, and Mary Beth Williams of Hollis for their service.
“The Journey of Literacy is very appropriate for the theme today as we are all on a journey in life, but without literacy, we cannot go far,” stated GPLC Coordinator Ida Fay Winters before she began a summary of the yearly successes the for the literacy celebration.
She first gave credit for guidance from the Great Plains Literacy Council board as well as the Southern Prairie Library System board.
Appreciation was also expressed to the 32 tutors who provided education to the adult learners, age 18 and older. These volunteers donated about 2,000 hours in tutoring and in-kind service. The value of one volunteer hour of service in Oklahoma is $21.45, according to the Independent Sector. These in-kind contributions figure to about $42,000 of value to the program. She said there many other non-tutoring volunteers who have given assistance this year.
Funding has also been appreciated. Thanks to the state legislature GPLC received grants for community literacy, health literacy, and technology improvements. Also federal funding came from the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. The Carolyn Watson Oklahoma Rural Community Foundation grant helped with staffing funds. The coordinator thanked all who contributed funds or other in-kind donations to the program.
Winters said the real beauty of the program is adult learners who want to improve their reading, writing and speaking English. GPLC served 101 adults this year.
Out of the 101 active community learners, 33 were eligible for reassessment and 22 had improved. Out of the 22, 16 students or 48% had advanced one grade level in reading. The state only required 27% gain.
She also said that the nonprofit organization was also proud of the 11 learners who gained their US citizenship this year. There are two more learners who passed the tests and are waiting for their citizenship ceremony.
The Literacy Appreciation Luncheon and program was one special effort to call attention to the beauty of traveling the literacy road.
Reach Ida Fay Winters at firstname.lastname@example.org