Goshen News Posted: Sunday, February 15, 2015
According to the Horizon Education Alliance website, there are an estimated 13,000 adults in Elkhart County who read below a fourth-grade level. Kathy Royer, associate director of the alliance, says there are approximately 26,000 low literacy level adults in the county. Those numbers are startling.
The overall population of Elkhart County is a shade over 200,000 people. Of those, roughly 56,000 are under the age of 18. So, about 144,000 county residents are adults. If Royer’s estimate is true, nearly 20 percent of adults in the county have significant trouble reading. That is a percentage that is troubling to us. It’s also a percentage we can come together to do something about.
IF YOU TURN BACK to today’s front page, you can read about Stan Miller, the former registrar at Goshen College who spent 33 years of his life in higher education. A couple years ago he began volunteering as a reading tutor with the Elkhart Literacy Project, a part of the Horizon Education Alliance’s adult literacy program.
“All of the sudden I encountered these adults who were working full time and raising kids and maintaining a marriage and coming to class four nights a week,” Miller told Goshen News Education Reporter Julie Crothers. “If there’s anything I want to say it’s the utmost respect I have for the people that I’ve worked with because their plates are already full and they’re coming four nights a week to study.”
WE SHARE MILLER’S respect for people who take the step to improve themselves. It can’t be easy. And we have the same respect for people like Miller who share their gifts and invest their time to help make someone else’s life better.
The Elkhart Literacy Project serves approximately 60 adult learners. They meet one-on-one with a trained tutor once a week. But as you can tell by the numbers above, 60 is a fraction of what could be happening. We encourage those who have trouble reading to contact the Horizon Education Alliance and ask for their help.
AND WE ENCOURAGE those who are educators or have a passion for reading to volunteer their talents to this important project. Reading is a gateway to so many bigger and better things in life. What a wonderful thing to share with others.
To learn more visit http://www.heaindiana.org/programs/adult-education/literacy-project/ or contact Adult Education Volunteer Coordinator Carol Hemund at 574-361-9088 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.