Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council

Rating: 4.88 stars   96 reviews

Issues: Education

Location: 411 Seventh Ave., Ste. 550 Pittsburgh PA 15219 USA

Mission: The mission of Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council is to ensure that adults and families acquire reading, writing, math, English language, workforce skills and computer skills so they may reach their fullest potential in life and participate productively in their community. 
Direct beneficiaries per year: GPLC provided services to approximately 4,600 students in 2012.
Geographic areas served: Allegheny County
Programs:    More than 135,000 adults in our area lack the reading, writing or math skills needed to read a utility bill, complete a job application, read a note from a child’s teacher or understand the instructions on a prescription bottle.   Through GPLC’s Adult Basic Education programs, men and women receive free instruction in reading, writing, math, GED preparation, health literacy, computers and workforce skills.  Some students work one-on-one with volunteer tutors and others are enrolled in classroom instruction.   They come to gain the skills they need to move off welfare, obtain jobs that allow them to support their families, make more informed health decisions, encourage their own children in school, and vote for the first time among many other accomplishments. 
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 25-1392652
412-393-7600
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I've volunteered for about 8 years. The students learn a lot and so do the volunteers. My time with GPLC is always among the highlights of my week.

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I've been a GPLC volunteer for 7 years, working with both Adult Basic Education and ESL students. I enjoy watching ABE learners discover that literacy is the path to an understanding and appreciation of a much larger world. Students find themselves working at the polls on Election Day, watching and understanding TV shows they would have ignored before coming to GPLC, knowing they can make good choices at the grocery store because they understand food labels, reading "for fun" -- in short, expanding their lives. With ESL students, I enjoy interpreting American culture and watching them discover that the American dream is for them. Being a GPLC volunteer is a good way to "give back", make new friends and have fun.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 4 stars  

On Friday, September 5, 2014 I attened the graduation celebration which was the 10th annual GED grauation for The Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council and it was the nicest graduation I have been to. Everyone was so very happy and the graduates were over willmed with joy and love. This was my first time going to this event and I am so very glad I went. Everyone did a great job. (GPLC, GOOD LOOKING OUT.)

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Rating: 5 stars  

I cannot speak highly enough of GPLC. While I lived in Pittsburgh, I volunteered as an ESL tutor, and it was a wonderful experience. The training I received when beginning, plus having a mentor tutor and a great supervisor helped me feel at ease going into my first session. The tips and extra materials GPLC provided me for my classes were immensely helpful. I also loved that there was assessment of each student, so that I knew what to focus on, and also whether or not my students were progressing.

On a whole other level, I just loved working with my students—they were extremely dedicated to learning English, and it encouraged me to be as equally dedicated to teaching them. I would recommend volunteering through GPLC to anyone interested.

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Rating: 5 stars  

The Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council is a great organization to be a part of. The staff goes far out of their way to see that students succeed and grow during their time here. I have seen GPLC change many lives and know they will only continue to change lives of adults around Pittsburgh.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Rating: 5 stars  

This program really helped me with my work. The actually take the time to help heir students understand the work before they have to take to the test. My goal was to finish the program with in seven months and I did. I really got a better understand on the work. I was't rushed either when I didn't understand something I told my teacher and she took the time to help me. I'm really thankful that I got a chance to come to this program. Thank for allowing people to come, grow and be able to continue going to school.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I wouldn't change anything since I like the way that it is now.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 5 stars  

I love volunteering with GPLC! The Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council has given me a wonderful opportunity to give back to my community and also pushed me to grow as an individual. GPLC prepares their volunteer tutors very well, providing training courses and mentoring. The staff is incredibly helpful too; whenever I have questions or concerns, my coordinator is always there to help. I would highly recommend this organization to anyone interested in tutoring.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 5 stars  

I registered for the Adult Basic Education (Literacy) workshop in October 2009, which I thought was tremendous, and went on to focus on GED preparation. I tutored a GED student for more than two and a half years until my student passed this August. When my student passed, it was very difficult to stop smiling for several days! Very few things are comparable to helping someone finally accomplish a lifetime education goal. I plan to continue tutoring GED with GPLC in the future, because we are quite literally opening up lives.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 4 stars  

To do adult tutoring has been a goal of mine for many years. My motivations are twofold -- remembering the pain of being a square peg in a round hole in elementary school, and having gained confidence and momentum, realizing much has come because I have had access to more than my share of resources.

My experience with GPLC has been very rewarding. After a few evenings of tutor training, my regional coordinator matched me with my first student. Each student comes to the tutor ready to succeed. First of all, if they went to GPLC to ask for help, you know they are ready to learn. I am now on my 3rd student, and have found this to be true every time. GPLC has also worked to prepare the student. Each student is tested to determine her/his exact needs, and an education specialist provides the tutor with a description of those needs and the materials to use in working with them.

In each case the materials have been very helpful. Yet, it has also been fun, as I get to know the student, to find other materials that really spark the student's interest and fuel the journey.

I was a bit worried about where we would meet. But it has not been a problem. Tutors are asked to meet their student in a public facility which is convenient for both student and tutor. So, in each case, my GPLC coordinator has found a library and cleared the way for us.

It is so wonderful to get to know these fantastic people who come to GPLC to learn and better themselves, and ready to work hard. It's really fun for both student and tutor. You can see each student open, over time, like a flower, and I find my spirit lifted being a part of the journey.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Now retired, I spent 30 years in organization development. Today all organizations are asked to do more with less. Yet, I have never gotten lost in the shuffle at GPLC. Yes. Their staffers are taxed with a great deal of responsibility. Yet, they are also highly qualified and motivated toward helping volunteers get what they need to be successful. They are very appreciative of volunteers as a resource.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 4 stars  

As a volunteer, I want my time to be used wisely and not wasted. I want to know that I have had an effect on the organization and I also want the experience to be interesting for me. As a volunteer ESL tutor for three years with the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council, I have found all of this and more.

I know that I have made a big difference in my students' lives as they adjust to their new country and culture. I have helped them get their drivers' licenses, pass the GED test, get better jobs, and prepare for the citizenship test.

My students have taught me as well. They have taught me about their countries and cultures and they have helped me understand the world a little better. Their paths to America have humbled me and made me even more appreciative of my own life.

Volunteering with the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council has been a very rewarding experience.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

After relocating to Pittsburgh a few years ago, I tried several volunteer organizations, but none provided me with the training and professional development opportunites like that of the Greater Pittsburgh LIteracy Council. I have been an ESL (English as a second language) adult tutor with GPLC for over a year and my experience has been personally very rewarding. Volunteers are treated as an important part of the organization and we are reminded of that through monthly meetings, workshops, and continuing professional development opportunities. You do not need to be an expert in English grammar to be a tutor. Training just takes 12 hours of your time and is spread out over 4 days at convenient locations. There is also no expense to the volunteer other than their own transportation to the classes. After training, volunteers are matched with students and then meet with them 4 hours a week at a place and time mutually agreed upon. Each student is evaluted by a staff member of the organization and then given a "prescription" for achieving their goals to become more skilled at conversation, reading, and writing. We are given textbooks to use with our students, but we are also encouraged to introduce our students to everyday American culture--and that is where it is especially fun. Currently, I have a Rwandan and an Italian student. I think I learn as much from them as they do from me. In the past year, besides helping them improve their language skills, I have seen them through driver's license tests, attended the wedding of one, helped another with job applications and interviews, and celebrated when they landed their first American jobs. They are now looking forward to their next goals and, eventually, becoming American citizens.
For me, personally, being part of their progress has been a wonderful experience. They are not just my students, they have become my friends. Through them I have developed an even deeper appreciation of my country and I look forward to the day when I watch them sworn in as new citizens of the United States.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in my students' successes and progress in adapting to American life and culture. They have expressed to me many times how helpful our meetings are to them. For four hours a week they have the chance to make conversation with someone who listens to them, teaches them, and encourages them.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

At this time, I really don't have any suggestions. I am impressed with the organization as a whole. It seems well-organized and is responsive to both the tutors and students.

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Rating: 4 stars  

GPLC provides a valuable service to people who wish to develop their English language skills, and I would recommend the organization to anyone interested in this kind of volunteer work.

My own experience has been in the area of English as a Second Language (ESL). As a GPLC volunteer since 2008, I’ve worked for varying lengths of time with eleven advanced ESL students, eight from Eastern Asia and three from Eastern Europe, sometimes one-on-one and sometimes in small groups. My students have been, without exception, interesting, personable, conscientious, and appreciative. Meeting with them has been intellectually stimulating as well as a lot of fun for me.

In return for a minimal amount of monthly reporting, GPLC provides lots of support—training, resources, area coordinators, student information and needs assessments, a “mentor” service involving more experienced tutors, and a wide variety of networking and ongoing development activities, both locally and on a wider scale. On a day-to-day basis, the tutor has a lot of freedom to structure lessons as appropriate, based on the needs, proficiency level and learning style of the students. My lesson preparation time has varied in relation to the relative formality of the approach best suited to my students’ goals.

ESL tutoring involves some time and work, but I’ve found that any investments I’ve made have been amply rewarded in many ways. If you’re attracted to the idea of helping people from other countries learn more about our language and culture, and if you’d like to broaden your own horizons by getting involved with some very interesting people from other parts of the world, then GPLC may be the ideal volunteering opportunity for you.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful?