Literacy is often at the intersection of many issues affecting the well-being of our community, so it’s vital to place a big focus on improving literacy. The Literacy Coalition of Central Texas is building stronger communities by ensuring that individuals and families have the skills they need to thrive. Their clients are often the hardest to reach – adults with below third-grade reading level, parents whose busy schedules render them unable to participate in other programs, recent immigrants with low English proficiency, and survivors of trauma.
A,B,C,1,2,3 and everything in between is all in a day’s work for the folks at the Literacy Coalition.
Through work with partner agencies, they are lifting up the sector as a whole by training instructors, providing more capacity for their work, and responding to network-identified needs. Through its programs, the LCCT leads and manages multiple levels of skill-building efforts to positively impact underserved individuals who are strengthening their language and workplace skills. Literacy Coalition programs include:
- AmeriCorps direct service
- English at Work
- Integrated Education and Training
- Literacy Forward
- PALS (Playing and Learning Strategies)
- Social Services
- The Learning Center
- AmeriCorps VISTA
When people think about literacy, they often think about kids learning to read, but literacy is so much more than that. At the LCCT, there is a strong focus on literacy outside the K-12 arena, working side by side with young children and adults on early childhood literacy, adult education, vocational training, digital literacy, and English language skills. Their programs empower people to achieve their goals, whether that’s getting a better job, understanding their doctor, being able to communicate with their children’s teacher, preparing their children for school, or continuing their own education. They offer support for people who want to learn English, get their GEDs, support their children, advance on their career path, and obtain the skills they need to succeed.
The core strategy of the LCCT is to embed their high-quality, proven programming in the business, education, and workforce sectors outside of the K-12 system to end the intergenerational cycle of poverty and illiteracy. Their programs and services are designed to deepen the impact of local nonprofits, strengthen the business workforce, and build stronger communities.
“Access to free, quality job training along with English classes removes the language barrier that our adult students have faced in the past and they’re able to move along their career path in a deeper way. They gain confidence and can have upward socio-economic mobility for their family. The ripple effect that our program creates allows our students to be more involved with their children’s school lives and with the community as a whole. It’s really exciting to hear from our students as they move through our programs and to hear about how the classes impact their lives.”
– Dashelle, IET Program Manager
The LCCT is constantly seeking out what the community needs most and responding timely to make sure services are available and all feel welcome. In January of 2017, the LCCT created a position statement in response to fears expressed by clients and staff in a time of federal policy changes and actions impacting the community. They had seen a dramatic decrease in attendance of programs, so they banded together internally to create a position statement to reaffirm our commitment to be safe, The Literacy Coalition’s empowering, open, and diverse place where all are welcome. And in 2018, the LLCT embarked on a 2-Gen project to with its partners how local adult-education providers can adopt 2-Gen best practices.
“As Austin grows and changes, and wealth and access divisions increase, I’m glad to be at an organization that is working to ensure that all Central Texans thrive. I want to live in a place that welcomes immigrants and refugees as the source of cultural and economic enrichment that they are, and it is fulfilling to be a small part of supporting their personal goals through the programs we offer… Overall, I’m inspired by the time and effort that our program participants put into achieving their goals and it makes me want to provide the best programs we can for them … the work that we do together, the relationships that we build across agencies, allows us to be stronger and do better for our community.”
– Sarah Forbes, Partnerships Manager
With wraparound social services in case management and clinical work being offered to students in the Learning Center and PALS programs, the LCCT strives to address histories of trauma and violence that prevent students from staying in class and completing programs, leading healthy and happy personal lives, and achieving their goals. The LCCT gets amazing feedback from students that feel like the Learning Center is a community and a safe space for them to be. Students often return after graduating to let the LCCT know how they’re doing or to ask for help with something new. To the students and clients with the LCCT, the Learning Center is a gathering place where everyone there is “like family.”
“[I’m more involved in my child’s education]. I have an email where they send me information about housing and changes in the school that I can read and call for comments” – Carmen, English at Work Student with KIPP Public Schools
The LCCT couldn’t do what they do without their AmeriCorps members. They view them as the backbone of the work being done. They love seeing each cohort come together for their initial orientation, ready to take on their service challenges and opportunities.
“Each term, we see these dedicated members work incredibly hard to serve our community and it’s a privilege to get to see the growth that they, in turn, get from the program.”
– Annabel Osburn, Assistant Director of AmeriCorps Programs
The LCCT is currently recruiting AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA members to serve in their two national service programs. No experience is necessary!
Learn more and apply for open positions at www.willread.org/americorps-vista
Registration is open for PALS classes – If you’re a parent or caregiver looking to support your child’s development and prepare them for kindergarten, sign up for their free, 14-week program (2 hours per week) for parents and their children (ages 18 months to 4 years).
Call 512-326-8655 ext 125 for more information or visit www.willread.org/pals
If you’d like to check out any event’s they are holding be sure to follow up on their website, or check out the following:
- Learning Center Graduation is on January 10
- Literacy Coalition Partner Announcements and Networking on January 11
- Literacy Coalition Open House on January 24
- January diversity initiative launches with the LCCT
Share the load with the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas as they work to eliminate illiteracy in our community, and help our neighbors start a new chapter in life.