Literacy Council Works to Tutor More Residents
An estimated 22 percent of Moore County adults function at literacy levels so low that they lack skills to participate in vocational or college level learning.
This estimate, provided by the U.S. Department of Education, was one of numerous statistics presented to the Moore County Board of Commissioners at the March 1 board meeting.
Susan Sherard, executive director of the Moore County Literacy Council, reported that the council provided one-to-one tutoring services to 160 adults in the past program year. In addition, 99 other adults received services through the council's computer lab, the tutoring program at Sandhills Community College and response to specific needs.
"This is a nationwide issue," Sherard said.
Nationwide, it is estimated that 40 million adults are in need of literacy tutoring, but only 3 million are receiving instruction.
The council has been in existence since 1987.
However, the literacy movement has its roots early in American history, dating to the days of George Washington, who ordered chaplains to teach reading and writing to his soldiers during the Revolutionary War. The need for adult literacy cropped up again during the Civil War, World War I and World War II.
Sherard said that the greatest need in Moore County is observed in the disadvantaged and immigrant workers.
Carthage is the newest tutoring site, and Sherard said that four students have already been paired with tutors there. Four laptop computers are available at the Carthage site. However, three students are on the waiting list.
Other tutoring sites are in Seven Lakes, Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Vass, but students served at these points come from across the county.
Asked by Commissioner Cindy Morgan about a tutoring site in the northern part of the county, Sherard replied that the council works through the Northern Moore Family Resource Center to serve residents there.
It costs an estimated $536 per student to provide tutoring service, and Sherard said this figure is low because the 125-plus tutors are all volunteers, who are trained and supervised by a two-person salaried staff.
The volunteer tutors donated 4,204 hours on 525 work days in the past program year, amounting to a contribution to the community of $85,131 to $168,160, depending on the criterion used to estimate the value of their service.
In 2009, the council had expenses of $104,463, and Sherard estimated the cost for 2010 at $108,484. The council raises 40 percent of its revenue through fundraising efforts, 21 percent through direct contributions, 11 percent from the United Way and the rest from miscellaneous sources, including a $7,600 grant from Moore County for basic program expenses.
"You do an excellent job," said Board Chairman Tim Lea.
Lea said the board would consider the council's funding request during the budget preparation period later in the spring.
Contact Florence Gilkeson by e-mail at email@example.com.
More like this story