The young lady told me that she was glad she finally asked for help and that her tutor does not make her feel dumb. She has been to two meetings with her tutor, but she feels good about herself and hopes she will be able to help her child do better in school than she did. If she couldn't go to tutoring in private I don't think she would have attempted to get help with her reading.
It touched my heart to see people actually showing up for tutoring services! OCCLC is doing a wonderful job and providing such a needed service to the community.
I am happy the organization made tutoring services available in Union county. So many are turning to drugs and crime because they can't get jobs to support their family, not realizing that a better education is what is needed to get jobs. I know a young man who took advantage of the one-on-one tutoring and now that he wants to learn and thinks someone cares about him he is also trying to change his life of drug abuse.
OCCLC was reestablished in 2009 and it is a solid organization with a strong, outstanding Board of Directors. It receives superb support from the community's college, SAU Tech; SAU Tech's Adult Education program; and many community agencies and organizations that recognize the great need for adult literacy services to exist in the tri-county areas it serves. OCCLC began providing free one-on-one tutoring services and learning material to adults functioning on or below a 6th grade level of education in the areas of reading, writing, math/problem-solving, and English as a Second Language. It has been wonderful watching people get excited about having the additional help and resources they need and that will help them reach their goals. Although OCCLC has done awesome work in its first restart-up year through training 47 tutors, and providing literacy services to 50 adult learners, there is much ahead to do to meet the needs of all adult learners in the three, predominately rural areas in which it serves. OCCLC has the opportunity to change individual lives and the face of each community.
I am just getting started as a tutor for the OCCLC. I have worked with a student whose first language is Spanish. At first, the main goal for tutoring was to enhance his basic writing skills. Eventually, we bagan working on conversational skills. It was important to him to not only communicate through writing but to also learn the most basic topics to use in casual conversation. I enjoyed working with this student and helping him accomplish his goals. OCCLC has a lot to offer ESL students who just want to make a valuable contribution to the community that they have chosen to call home.
I have worked for Arkansas Literacy Council for 14 years, 12 as Executive Director. I cannot recall a time where I have seen amazing results from a new grassroots literacy council in such a short period of time - since July 2009. The council is supported with inkind rent, utilities/Internet, equipment, and bookkeeping services from Southern Arkansas University-Tech in Camden. The chancellor wanted to be personally involved because of so many high school graduates coming to college only to discover they do not have the reading and writing skills they need. The OCCLC Board members have come through with their promises to make contacts in their churches, civic organizations, and other contacts where volunteers can be recruited for tutoring - and potential students can be encouraged to come for help. We are concluding our grants process for FY 2011. We require each applicant to send two student or tutor success stories. Three were sent this year from OCCLC. Three students, all women, all mothers with eight children between them, and two of them single parents. I don't think these women - and many others - would have been reached without the full commitment of the OCCLC organization. The stories are here: http://www.arkansasliteracy.org/pages/StudentStories/OuachitaCalhounCounty.html
I consider education as the bedrock of any prosperous and thriving society and the OCCLC's drive in providing adults with free basic education is simply an act of human resource empowerment and a potent seed of individual and societal wellbeing. If the objectives of OCCLC are met the effects would be multi-sectoral. For instance, there would be able manpower to attract jobs and investment drives in our counties; more tax dollars would be available in the counties. Social safety/health campaign programs would be more meaningful and better imparted to a society with more educated populace. It is with above views that one is motivated to become a volunteer and i urge all hands to support OCCLC by way of finances, time and logistics to help plant and nurture this seed of education in our communities.
After a number of years of inactivity, Southern Arkansas University Tech led the effort to reinvigorate the OCCLC. With a new board, encouragement and support from the Arkansas Literacy Council, the college, and the tireless work of our AmeriCorps service member, the Literacy Council has made an immeasureable impact on Ouachita, Calhoun, and Union counties over the past 14 months. The community has responded well to the call for volunteer tutors, tutoring locations, and activities. Dozens of students are being served in the cause of literacy development that otherwise may not have had the opportunity to improve these skills.
We held a program at the Boys & Girls Club of El Dorado (BGCE). There were churches, community organizations and civic groups involved. Groups such as Smackover Pride youth group, Zion Watch Baptist Church, and Starlight PAW Team(Praise and Worship). The SMART Leaders of BGCE joined others to stuff bags and set up for the performances. We then as a group marched to the CASA Office to present the bags. We should look at time and other services that we could have previded along with the information bags. Over all we have a great first experience.
I had a man in my church come to me about 6 weeks ago and let me know that he couldn't read. I then went to Linda Nelson and talked with her about an individual tutor for him. She informed me of their process and let me know that she could make that happen. My church member is now making sure that he wants this service. Thanks to Linda for even making it possible.