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Adams County Literacy Council improves opportunities for local residents

Founded in 1987, the Adams County Literacy Council (ACLC) continues to promote essential adult education and employment skills for county residents.

Noting the program serves about 170 people every year, ACLC Program Coordinator Alison Shuman said “taking ownership of one’s education is the first step of growth. The ACLC strives to make people more employable and reduce poverty.”

ACLC volunteer tutors work one-on-one with learners to empower their education. “The tutors are the guts of the agency,” said Shuman. In a typical week, a learner receives 3-4 hours of instruction with a tutor along with outside platforms that supplement their learning at home. Tutors have at least a college degree.

The ACLC provides a wide range of free services to match each learner’s educational needs and goals. The most basic include programs to improve reading and writing skills along with computer and financial literacy. ACLC also offers English as a Second Language as well as high school equivalence test training including pre-GED, and GED programs. Recently, the council has worked with the Adams County Prison to bring GED classes to inmates.

Shuman said the U.S. Department of Education requires an Educational Functioning Level (EFL) test after every 50 hours of instruction to ensure learners are gaining from the programs they participate in. “The students like seeing they are making progress,” she said.

The state of Pennsylvania works hard to make education more accessible and to ensure every citizen has access to education no matter what life stage they are in. Shuman said that literacy councils have been established in most counties across Pennsylvania to empower residents to take ownership over their education. Those who may not have had access to education or never completed high school have opportunities to return to academia.

Shuman explained that sanctioned literacy councils around the state including ACLC are coordinated by state Intermediate Units. These units, each spanning several counties, act as liaisons between the Department of Education and the public, providing accessible educational services and agencies.

The ACLC serves people from all demographics and all educational needs. “It’s hard to come back to education after leaving it for so long, but at the end of the day a promotion may mean being able to simply write, read, and speak better. When we see someone come in at a fifth-grade level and get their GED or even go to college, we know our work is bettering individuals, their intellect, and lifestyles as a whole,” said Shuman

If you are interested in becoming a part of the learning community in Adams County, the literacy council is always looking for volunteers. To contact the ACLC, please call their office at 717-479-7032.

Featured image caption: Tutor Elizabeth Richardson-Viti (left) with her student Khyati Vyas.

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