Submitted by Roberta Roth, Literacy Outreach Specialist.
You who are reading this article are presumably not finding it to be a challenge. Unfortunately, this is not true for 15 percent of the adults in San Mateo County. That is why Project Read-Menlo Park exists, to empower people with literacy skills for all areas of their lives, as workers, parents, community members, and lifelong learners.
Indeed, in these times it has never been more important to provide literacy services to those in our community who struggle with basic literacy. Reading and writing are fundamental skills for building better lives.
Those who are able to read and complete job applications, obtain a GED certificate, attend college, and otherwise comprehend the information associated with securing work will be most employable in our economy.
Our volunteer tutors are fundamental to the success of our program.
Patricia D'Larzelere, a tutor for 17 years, said: "I get to help someone become more comfortable with a language that I love. So with great courage, perhaps even desperate courage, they (the learners I've tutored) asked for help. And Project Read was there. And they inspire me so."
Our learners reflect on the changes in their lives: "My experience in the ESL course has been good. I understand complete sentences. I can also write more in English. I help my son with his homework and reading. My daughter and I have conversations about college. She is the first person in our family to go to college."
Project Read, which has been providing free library-based adult literacy instruction for 28 years, currently has more than 100 adult students receiving instruction in our one-to one tutoring program, computer resource lab, and English classes at the Belle Haven School.
These adults not only increase their own literacy, but also apply their knowledge and confidence at home, impacting a new generation of readers and supporting their children's education.
You can help Project Read-Menlo Park in a variety of ways:
• Become a volunteer tutor, We have students on our waiting list.
• Decrease the digital divide by helping adults learn new computer skills.
• Visit VolunteerMatch.org for all our opportunities
• Become a board member of Project Read-Menlo Park Literacy Partners .
Project Read-Menlo Park relies on support from individuals, local businesses, foundations, the Friends of the Menlo Park Library and state and local government. In 2010, a nonprofit arm, Project Read-Menlo Park Literacy Partners, was established to increase our funding base and ensure sustainable funding for the future.
Visit menlopark.org, Menlo Park Library, 800 Alma St., or call (650) 330-2525 for more information.