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Author: Margaret Patterson

NCL Launches “Adult Education Brings the American Dream in Reach” Campaign

NCL Launches “Adult Education Brings the American Dream in Reach” Campaign

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If you could only read as well as a third grader, what would it be like to apply for a job?

If you couldn’t speak English, what would you say to your child’s teacher on Back-to-School Night?

If you couldn’t do basic math, what would it be like to pay your bills each month?

Making a better life for yourself and your family is the American Dream. But that dream is out of reach to millions of Americans, native and foreign-born, because they struggle to read, write, do basic math, and speak English–and we’re all paying the price. It’s a problem we can’t fix without your help.

How we help

With a challenge this big, our country can’t afford not to act. We, as members of the National Coalition for Literacy, are the boots on the ground, the teachers in the classroom, the researchers, community leaders, and the voices on Capitol Hill. Together, we work to make sure every adult has the skills they need to find and keep a job, educate their kids, and work toward their piece of the American Dream.

We know fixing the problem means tackling it from the ground up and the top down. So we’re educating policymakers about the human, social, and actual costs of low literacy. We’re raising much-needed resources to bring more programs to our communities. We’re sharing research-based practices about the unique needs of adult learners, and how we can all benefit when people have the skills to participate in the 21 century workforce. And we’re working directly with adult learners as they pursue the skills they need to boost their self-sufficiency and chance at future success.

We need you

Too many adults across our nation lack the skills they need to get and keep a job, support their families, and succeed in life.  You can be a part of the solution, and we have lots of ways—big and small—that you can help. Please consider donating $10, $25, $100, or even more to our campaign. Together, we can help put more people on the path to self-sufficiency and success.

Please join NCL in bringing the American Dream within reach through your donation. Visit our Donate page and click on the green Donate Now button.

Coalition Wraps up AEFL Week Happenings

Coalition Wraps up AEFL Week Happenings


As NCL wraps up the celebration of Adult Education and Family Literacy Week 2015, posted below are the happenings that reached the Coalition inbox through the weekend. A sincere thank you to all who participated in raising awareness and spreading advocacy for adult education during the 7th annual AEFL week!


District of Columbia:

DC street newspaper Street Sense featured So Others Might Eat’s Center for Employment Training (SOME CET) in Anacostia which aids people to “build the skills needed to obtain better-paying jobs to provide for themselves and their families.” For AEFL Week an Adult Education Panel discussion took place at Busboy and Poets store in Brookland on September 21. The feature author concluded, “Knowledge inequality is just as bedeviling a problem in Washington as income inequality. More public awareness and involvement can help more District residents improve their lives.”


Cumberland County Adult Education participated in the KAACE celebration of AEFL Week by “raising awareness of the under-educated and food insecure people” during September Hunger Prevention Month.


Coffee lovers drank to adult literacy at the first-ever Water Street Literacy Connection Benefit on September 26. Water Street Coffee hosted the “benefit featuring Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell and Janice Brown of The Kalamazoo Promise. Patrons could round up their purchases by $1 or more, and pledged” to “Team Bobby” or “Team Janice” in a friendly competition. All proceeds benefited adult literacy.

“We are supporting the Kalamazoo Literacy Council because it demonstrates the best qualities at work in our community: collaboration, dedicated volunteers, and a commitment to provide quality adult instruction and resources,” Hopewell and Brown stated jointly. “Through these efforts we are opening the doors for hundreds of adult learners who want to improve their skills.”

North Carolina:

On Friday, Burke County Literacy Council launched Adult Literacy Day of Giving — an effort to raise awareness about adult literacy and involve others as advocate, volunteer, or supporter.

“This is the launch for the giving portion of the campaign,” the council’s office manager Ariel Benfield said, and beyond funding, “we are trying to get more volunteer support as well. We are looking for volunteers for one-on-one tutoring, office and clerical help, childcare help and fundraising help.”

Celebrations Update for AEFL Week 2015

Celebrations Update for AEFL Week 2015

Adult Education and Family Literacy Week has been celebrated all week long around the USA. Today NCL offers new resources on the AEFL Week Resources page as well as celebration highlights from around the country. Thanks to all for sharing ideas and resources – let’s keep celebrating!


The Second Start Adult Literacy Program at Oakland Public Library is participating in AEFL Week. Amy Sonnie, Librarian, shares, “Each day this week we are posting a new blog that shines a spotlight on literacy and highlights library programs that foster lasting change for adults, young adults and families. Check our blogs daily September 21-26:”

District of Columbia:

Two AEFL Week news items came in from the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education for U.S. Department of Education. The president  of MAACCE wrote a guest blog for OCTAE in honor of AEFL Week.  Heather Ritchie wrote, “I am a teacher. I am a trainer. I am an educator. I am an administrator. These are the words I use to describe myself when someone asks what I do for a living. Then there is ‘I am an advocate for adult education.’ This is a phrase I never used to use but find myself utilizing more often these days. It is the most powerful of the phrases and I wish all of my colleagues would add it to their titles too.”

In honor of AEFL Week, OCTAE has also launched a new online center to direct adult learners to free, high-quality resources related to education, job and life skills. The LINCS (Literacy, Information and Communication System) Learner Center complements OCTAE’s priority goal to make on-demand learning available for teachers and students.


District 214 Community Education Read to Learn program in Arlington Height is celebrating AEFL Week. According to District 214’s Diana Copaev, We have a banner that has been (and will be) circulating throughout our 12 sites this week.” She posted a picture of one of their classes with the banner.


NCL associate member Maryland Association for Adult Community and Continuing Education has instituted a “Go GREEN for literacy” campaign. Included in this campaign was distribution of 6,000 LITERACY wristbands with a postcard message across the state and an advocacy toolkit with items like letters to the editor that individuals could edit and send. MAACCE Board Members, who are leaders of the advocacy committee, visited the offices of State Representatives and Congressmen and Congresswomen. Maryland Adult Literacy Programs including Strong City Baltimore, Literacy Council of Montgomery County, Howard County Project Literacy Community College of Baltimore County, South Baltimore Learning Center, Allegany County Adult Education, and College of Southern Maryland, showed off their GO GREEN spirit by sending in their photos celebrating the go GREEN campaign. MAACCE Board members received a governor’s proclamation for the state of Maryland for adult Education and Family Literacy Week in the state of Maryland.

More than 80,000 adults in Montgomery County, Maryland, lack the English skills to be self-sufficient, according to NCL associate member Montgomery Coalition for Adult English Literacy (MCAEL). MCAEL is highlighting the need for English education during AEFL Week by teaming up with two restaurants, California Tortilla and Ben & Jerry’s in Rockville, to raise funds to help adult learning programs. On Sept. 24, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., a percentage of each of these restaurants’ proceeds will be donated to MCAEL. “English literacy is the foundation for our community’s economic and social prosperity. Adults with greater literacy skills can earn more, better support their children’s education and participate in civic life. As a result, we all benefit from greater tax contributions, a more educated population, and a more connected community,” said Kathy Stevens, executive director of MCAEL.

New York:

ProLiteracy is launching an Adult Literacy Day of Giving on September 25 to raise awareness about adult literacy and encourage people to get involved by volunteering, supporting, and donating.

Kevin Morgan, president and CEO of ProLiteracy, says, “We are trying to raise awareness about adult literacy and encourage people to get involved by volunteering, supporting, and donating. It’s important to understand the issues and confront the facts head on. If you have a passion for helping your community, and creating a world where every adult has a right to literacy, please learn more about the Adult Literacy Day of Giving by visiting our website at”

North Carolina:

A Greensboro non-profit organization, Reading Connections, is doing something special during Adult and Family Literacy week to help more adults learn to read. “We’re launching an Adult Literacy Day of Giving on September 25, 2015 to raise awareness about adult literacy and encourage people to get involved by volunteering, supporting and donating,” said Lydia Davis, the organization’s volunteer services coordinator. “We’re hoping to raise $25,000 with its $25 for 25 years campaign.” One of Davis’ adult learners, named Willie, spoke on a local television show.  “I had problems reading.  I was a slow reader and I wanted to someday be able to read to my grand-kids,” said Willie.  So two year’s ago, he went to Reading Connections for help. “A friend of mine invited me to this banquet and I saw people from different countries learning to read and improving their reading skills and I said, this would be good for me.”

South Dakota:

The Yankton Area Literacy Council is “part of a national network of organizations that work every minute of every day to end the adult literacy crisis,” writes a staffer at Yankton Daily Press and Dakotan. “About one in six adults is still not literate, and approximately 67.4 million school-aged children are not enrolled in school,” said Sheri Duke, Executive Director of Southeast Job Link and Coordinator for the Yankton Area Literacy Council. “We know literacy helps families be healthier and safer and provides people sustainable opportunities to support themselves through work, contributing ultimately to the economic growth of our region and our country.” In recognition of National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, the Yankton Area Literacy Council and Southeast Job Link welcome local residents to come visit them and encourages residents to become volunteer tutors to improve literacy for individuals of all ages.


More AEFL Week Happenings around the USA

More AEFL Week Happenings around the USA


As we continue national Adult Education and Family Literacy Week celebrations, news from the field is pouring in. The latest happenings around the country are posted by state below. If your organization is celebrating the week, please tell us how, by e-mailing


The mayor of Montgomery opened the city’s AEFL Week by stating: “The better educated a community is, the safer you are. The less crime there’s going to be, the more income there’s going to be, and income leads to additional taxation. So, any time you can raise the education level, the fact there’s educated individuals is just very helpful in making that great community that we strive to be.” Mayor Todd Strange plans to proclaim September as Adult Literacy Month.


Crawford County Adult Education Center will hold a free fall career fair for the public today. The career fair offers a “mix of different community resources, schools, retraining programs, military, and of course, businesses that are hiring,” Career Coach Laura Gornall said.  Gornall noted the fair, which includes lunch for participants, is being held in celebration of National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week. “We don’t just want to help people get a GED, take a math class or a computer class. We want to help them get a job, too,” Gornall said.


Gov. Steve Beshear named Sept. 21-26 Kentucky Adult Education Week. “We are very grateful to have Kentucky Adult Education Week recognized by Governor Beshear to help build awareness of the free services offered at local adult education centers in 120 counties,” said Reecie Stagnolia, vice president for Kentucky Adult Education, Council on Postsecondary Education.


State officials in Illinois proclained AEFL Week. “I want to make sure every citizen of Illinois has access to quality literacy programs that help them reach their utmost potential and put them on a path to lifelong learning,” said Jesse White, Secretary of State and State Librarian. “Our local literacy programs are among the finest in the nation. I encourage citizens wanting to enhance their literacy education to reach out to these local providers. ”

Illinois Valley Community College Adult Education is hosting an open house on September 24, complete with food and drawings.

Lincoln Trail College is celebrating AEFL Week with a tour, pizza in classes, and a reception to thank funders. Rena Gower of LTC Adult Education stated,“When adults learn how to read and write, they are more likely to help lower health care costs, find sustainable employment and lift themselves out of poverty.”


A new series of videos from MN ABE Professional Development tackles a critical question for advocacy: Hot Ideas 2015 – Why ABE Matters. This powerful series features adult educators offering perspectives on the importance of adult education. One video argues that education is an inalienable human right for adults. Videos are short and to the point.


Literacy Kansas City has a new blog, Between the Lines, launched Sept. 8 to celebrate International Literacy Day. The current blog features the “insanely cool experience” of adult learner Jevan McCurdy. McCurdy is currently the head chef at a sports bar and grille and wants to get his GED, start taking college courses and eventually accomplish his professional goals as a chef.

“I want to be at a higher pace, at a higher skill than I am now,” he says.


The Adult Education Department at Northeast Community College will spotlight its programs with an open house on September 24, to explain the services and tools utilized in the program. Nancy Schultz, director of adult education, explained, “National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week allows educators the opportunity to recognize and celebrate the hard work and achievements of adult learners. Over the past several years, adult education has evolved from a previously primarily academic base curriculum to one of preparing our students for all facets of their lives,” she said. “In an effort to prepare our students for career and college readiness, we focus on  life skills classroom training in areas such as personal finance, dressing for success, study skills training, and any other areas students need to progress toward post-secondary education and careers.”

South Carolina:

According to Susan Jones, Family Literacy Specialist, staff in Horry County Schools  Adult Education “look forward to celebrating Adult Education and Family Literacy Week!” They will host a variety of special events  at both the Conway Education Center and Myrtle Beach Family Learning Center will celebrate families learning together, exploring career and college options, and promoting lifelong learning.

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