Vashti Dayaljee wrote -
Our goal as a team is not about raising funds alone but about educating and creating awareness of the MN Literacy Council.
“It is not enough to simply teach children to read; we have to give them something worth reading. Something that will stretch their imaginations--something that will help them make sense of their own lives and encourage them to reach out toward people whose lives are quite different from their own.” - Katherine Patterson
About the Minnesota Literacy Council
The Minnesota Literacy Council (MLC) is a nonprofit, statewide organization that provides literacy services to adults, children, volunteers and community programs around Minnesota.
In 1972 MLC offered its first volunteer tutor workshops. Today we've become one of the nation's largest literacy organization, offering a full range of services that help children and adults acquire the literacy skills they need to become successful students, workers, family members, and community citizens:
- Teaching basic reading and math skills to adults.
- Conducting English language classes for immigrants and refugees.
- Offering citizenship and GED preparation classes.
- Referringthousands of adult learners to literacy programs in their local communities.
- Providing in-home literacy services to disadvantaged children and their parents.
- Training preschool teachers in early-literacy development and assessment techniques.
- Managing volunteers in summer literacy programs for at-risk children.
- Training hundreds of volunteer tutors each year.
- Giving technical and management support to more than 100 local literacy programs in Minnesota.
Thousands of students benefit from these services every year. But so do many others: volunteers, employers, co-workers, neighbors, and community leaders. When students gain the tools that allow them to build fuller lives, all Minnesotans reap the benefit
Literacy is an important and complex issue, relating to MUCH MORE than simply understanding and using the written and spoken word. In fact, literacy includes health literacy, financial literacy, computer literacy, functional work literacy, family literacy, social literacy, media literacy, and many others. The National Literacy Act defines literacy as "An individual's ability to read, write, and speak in English, compute and solve problems at levels of proficiency necessary to function on the job and in society, to achieve one's goals, and develop one's knowledge and potential."
Every person deserves to learn the skills and strategies necessary to grow and succeed. Kofi Annan, a Ghanaian diplomat and a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, spoke at the 2005 International Day of Literacy, stating: "Experience and research show that literacy can be a major tool for eradicating poverty, enlarging employment opportunities, advancing gender equality, improving family health, protecting the environment, and promoting democratic participation. A literate home environment is a boon to child development, having a positive impact on how long girls and boys stay enrolled in school and how effectively they learn..."
Literacy is vital to the health of our community. Adults who lack a high school diploma typically earn seven thousand dollars less each year than graduates. This may be in part because businesses spend a great deal of money in additional training for workers with low literacy. In addition, illiteracy leads to an even lower average income, which results in poorer health. Early intervention can help relieve some of the strain on our healthcare system.
The National Assessment of Adult Literacy conducted a study in 2003 and reported that nearly one third of Americans need help in reaching their literacy goals. The results were quite stark. Beginning with the worst, fourteen percent of the population tested at below basic proficiency, meaning they had minimal to no reading and writing skills. Twenty-nine percent still only performed at a basic level, meaning that they are minimally prepared to decode information in a simple pamphlet or medicine bottle. Next, 44 percent of adults can perform intermediate tasks, such as determining facts from reference material. Sadly, only 13 percent of the U.S. population tested as proficient, meaning they are capable of reading and comparing editorial viewpoints.
These results paint a bleak picture for the future of much of the population. Immediate intervention is necessary to turn the tide and ensure the success of our country as a whole. Otherwise, these inequities will continue to degrade the foundation of our society. Through their programs, the Literacy Council of Minnesota revitalizes communities and keeps alive the dream of opportunity and success for everyone, which benefits us all. They are one of the nation's largest literacy organizations, and offer a full range of services that help children and adults acquire the literacy skills they need to become successful students, workers, family members, and community citizens. This includes teaching basic reading and math skills to adults, conducting English language classes for immigrants and refugees, offering citizenship and GED preparation classes, referring thousands of adult learners to literacy programs in their local communities, providing in-home literacy services to disadvantaged children and their parents, training preschool teachers in early-literacy development and assessment techniques, managing volunteers in summer literacy programs for at-risk children, training hundreds of volunteer tutors each year, and giving technical and management support to more than 100 local literacy programs in Minnesota. Thousands of students benefit from these services every year. Moreover, so do many others: volunteers, employers, co-workers, neighbors, and community leaders. "When students gain the tools that allow them to build fuller lives, all Minnesotans reap the benefits."