The Literacy Council of St. Mary’s is making every effort to continue its literacy programs through virtual instruction during the prolonged COVID-19 crisis. For the protection of all concerned, however, face to face Literacy Council of St. Mary’s operations have ceased until Senior Centers reopen. The Literacy Council of St. Mary’s Board of Directors took this action having decided that the Literacy Council of St. Mary’s will follow the Senior Center Policy with regard to COVID-19 Virus.
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The Literacy Council of St, Mary’s County Inc. is an Internal Revenue Approved 510(c)3 non-profit organization which is in good standing as a non-profit with the Maryland Secretary of State.
The mission of the Literacy Council of St. Mary’s County is to provide one-on-one tutoring to English speaking and non-English speaking adults, 18 years of age or older, who request help with basic reading and writing skills, basic math skills, and with other appropriate self-identified educational goals.
This approach of one-on-one tutoring by trained volunteers has proven effective over time. Experience shows that this practice clearly builds self-confidence and critical thinking skills. Our graduates tend to improve their lives and enrich their community through heightened self-esteem and increased earning power.
- One student, starting from a true down and out situation as a bitter Walden referral, has become employed, is now a qualified ambulance driver and is studying to become certified as an Emergency Medical Service (EMS).
- One non-English proficient student, possessing a PhD in Pharmacology from Japan, has learned English and is employed as a highly paid professional.
- Two non-English proficient students, part of a group of wives of aviators from South America attached to the the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, were able to obtain Maryland driver’s licenses, thus better assimilating into the culture.
- One former non-English proficient student established a successful Mexican Restaurant in the northern portion of St. Mary’s County. All non-English proficient employees are encouraged to participate in Literacy Council tutoring.
These and many other stories highlight some significant trends.
- The number of individuals needing English as a Second Language (ESL) training has grown significantly in St. Mary’s County over the recent decade. While this tracks well with national trends, the local finding is revealing. Not all St. Mary’s ESL candidates start at the bottom the social/economic spectrum. Many are highly educated and potentially highly productive St. Mary’s citizens once they gain sufficient reading and writing proficiency. As the Literacy Council is not bound to accept students only from certain economic strata, the organization can and does offer valuable services to well-educated individuals who need only to become proficient in English language skills to add value. Interestingly, in 2016, the Literacy Council of St. Mary’s has tutored students originally from Brazil, El Salvador, Bolivia, Guatemala, Mexico, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Vietnam, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Italy, Jordan, Uzbekistan, and Cameroon.
- One-on-one tutoring in English proficiency produces good citizens. While hard tax numbers are difficult, if not impossible to obtain in aggregate, it is quite reasonable to estimate that the increased tax base generated from successful Literacy Council students well offsets the modest investments provided by St. Mary’s County in productive part-time labor to organize literacy tutoring encounters. This represents a rough measure of a Return on Investment.
- Literacy breeds pride. Self image is significantly bolstered through literacy tutoring, making individuals less vulnerable to failure, while measurably adding to earning potential.
The Literacy Council of St. Mary’s County continually seeks new students, mostly by referral as many of our clients literally cannot read. We also seek volunteer tutors to learn the teaching techniques and fulfill student demand. Finally, to continue our operations, we must rely upon the generosity of our benefactors.
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