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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Adult Education, Education, Ethnic & Immigrant Centers, Human Services, Immigration, Job Training, Literacy, Remedial Reading & Encouragement, Vocational Counseling

Mission: The mission of Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council is better lives through learning.

Direct beneficiaries per year: GPLC provided services to approximately 4,300 students in 2015.

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. 

Community Stories

65 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Marie O.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been attending GPLC since November 2016 and to the present. I have gained a lot educationally with this non profit school. I appreciate all of the teachers and staff who are there to help. I am continuing to finish school. I have joined my classmates other a FACEBOOK GROUP called GREATER PITTSBURGH LITERACY BREAKFAST CLUB and what we do is post different class assignments and answers and we all are able to tutor via: VIDEO MESSAGE LIVE with one another or different apps that allow about 8 people to video message live at one time. This is a great way to save money, time, gas expenses. I do want to add that we do attend our regular class days also. We had did this for extra help with others who are not getting it . I know how hard it is to be a single parent like myself I have two children a son Paul who is going to be 11 and my daughter Jai'den who will be 6 this upcoming year. I know how it is to be a MOM or DADDY that has limited time but one hour out of the day will help us all succeed. I am so excited to continue my journey through this program . I am interested in graduating and furthering a WELDING degree. I am looking forward for a wonderful rest of my journey and also hope we can make our facebook page viral to allow others in different states or around the globe to gain the education we are and we all can go to the top together. Thanks again
Dorothy Otto
GPLC student

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Thanks a lot to this non profit org. I got help in building up my career my accent in american way and to do GED. Hoping to get this sort of help in future too.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just completed my training to become an adult basic education tutor and am blown away by the staff's enthusiasm, dedication, and passion for the mission. They are very talented trainers themselves - keeping the 4 nights of training fun and light-hearted, yet super-impactful. I'm eagerly waiting my first student!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The school helps people a lot with your education and its very simple with everything you want to know so come to gplc and get your education in Pittsburgh its worth the time and day

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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.)

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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.

Donna2345678

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working for GPLC as a volunteer ESL tutor has been a great experience for me. Over the past seven years I’ve tutored many different students. They have all been enthusiastic learners who have inspired me in countless ways. While leading busy lives, the students are still able to find time to study English and they are always eager and willing to work hard. Often our meetings are the only occasion the students have for practicing their English in a non threatening setting and they are grateful and appreciative for this opportunity. I cherish the connections and relationships that I have made through tutoring. The professional staff of GPLC is very helpful about assisting tutors with resource material and other support. My local coordinator is wonderful and offers encouragement when needed. Attending monthly “Tutor Talks” is informative and a good way to meet other tutors and brainstorm new ideas. If you are looking for a meaningful way to make a contribution to your community, please consider contacting GPLC. You do not have to be an education expert but merely have the desire to make someone’s life a little easier. Volunteering with GPLC is enjoyable, extremely rewarding and just a whole lot of fun!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a tutor with GPLC for 3 years. I wanted to give back and have a true life-changing impact for someone. The organization has helped me achieve that and more. The folks at GPLC are an amazing group of highly-committed individuals who are truly invested in the improving education in region.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After 30 years as an English teacher, I chose to volunteer with GPLC in retirement. Four years ago. I took their ESL training. It has been wonderfully fulfilling work. Several students have commented that, in addition to gaining language skills, they are pleased to actually know an American. Many have few real relationships with Americans because their English isn't really good enough to engage in conversations beyond the superficial. Students in this program have told me they feel encouraged by their tutors and thus find the courage to engage more fully in American life. GPLC support is excellent and volunteering with them is entirely worthwhile!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer ESL tutor for the GPLC for six years. I volunteered because I want to give back and help immigrants learn English which they really need living here. The GPLC takes in and tests potential students and prepares a professional analysis of their English needs and goals with recommendations for class plans and suggestions that might work well with the students. They also provide texts to use and are available for suggestions to solve problems, etc. the staff that I have dealt with is very professional and dedicated to help the students. They are amiable, intelligent and go out of their way to help us tutors do the best that we can for our students. Tom Harter

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been an ESL tutor with GPLC for 3 years now and it's the most rewarding and important thing I do. Besides the wonderful feeling I get from helping people who want to learn English, I also enjoy the fact that I'm helping to create a good impression of America and Americans. I currently tutor 8 students, and our twice-weekly classes are something I look forward to. No matter what kind of a mood I'm in when I leave for class, I'm always in a great mood when I get there.
GPLC is a great organization, the best I've ever volunteered with. The training and support they provide makes it easy to make a difference in someone's life. Get involved--it won't take long for you to wonder why you waited so long!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council is a great organization, providing satisfaction and fulfillment for both its volunteers and its students. I've been an ESL tutor with them for almost three years and have been impressed with the training and support their dedicated staff offers on a continuing basis. The organization is truly making a difference not only in individual lives but in the world. Having worked with other volunteer organizations in the past, I feel GPLC is THE BEST!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with GPLC for 4 years. Initially I worked with a young woman who was trying to pass her GED. Next I was assigned to work with a man who has learning disabilities as well as suffering from a brain injury due to a car accident. We have been together for 3 years, and it has been a most rewarding albeit frustrating experience. He is difficult and demanding, but we have developed a very strong relationship. GLPC and their district supervisors have been most supportive and have provided us with ample materials. If you are someone who enjoys a hands-on experience, I highly recommend volunteering with GPLC. Cary Reed