The mission of the Adult Reading Center is to transform lives through education.
The Adult Reading Center is the only professional community-based literacy provider in our service area that utilizes volunteer tutors to support its mission of providing instruction at no charge to adults with limited literacy skills. Many of these individuals have difficulty functioning effectively in the community due to poor speaking, reading, or writing English skills.
Where once the ability to read and use printed materials was considered adequate to function effectively in the community, adults now need higher-level basic skills. Today, literacy is defined more broadly to include problem solving and higher-level reasoning skills. The Center’s motto is Break the Cycle: Teach the Parent, Reach the Child and we strongly believe that teaching adult learners impacts the entire family by encouraging excellent role models. Literacy is the tool that enables these adults to help themselves and their families, provides the means to a better quality of life, and affects the community as a whole by providing opportunities for a more literate workforce.
These adults with low and limited literacy skills tend to be at a great disadvantage in our society. They do not have the full range of options that are open to others and low and limited literacy skills are closely connected to social problems related to poverty. The Adult Reading Center recognizes these problems and provides instruction through research-based materials, including technology, that transforms adult learners’ lives. The availability of literacy instruction provided without charge to those with the greatest need provides them the necessary tools to overcome the poverty barrier.
The research paper issued by the National Institute of Health in October 2010 wherein they concluded that programs to boost the academic achievement of children from low-income neighborhoods might be more successful if they also provided adult literacy education to parents supports our motto. “The researchers based this conclusion on their finding that a mother’s reading skill is the greatest determinant of her children’s future academic success, outweighing other factors, such as neighborhood and family income,” NIH concluded.
“The findings indicate that programs to improve maternal literacy skills may provide an effective means to overcome the disparity in academic achievement between children in poor and affluent neighborhoods,” said Rebecca Clark, Ph.D., chief of the Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch at NICHD, in support of the research.
Additionally, David S. Spence, President of the Southern Regional Education Board stated, “Quite simply, the economic well-being of our region is at stake if we allow the growing group of less-educated, working-age adults in SREB states to expand further. Their low levels of education contribute to higher health-care costs and unemployment rates, diminish tax revenues, and hinder economic development. Where better-trained workers live, good jobs will follow." [“A Smart Move in Tough Times: How SREB States Can Strengthen Adult Learning and the Work Force”, Southern Regional Education Board, 2010]
“Some people walk by [the Center] and think it’s just a house…you can’t tell what it is. But this place changes lives. It’s changed mine.” ~ Jorge, Adult Basic Education Learner who, with tutoring at the Adult Reading Center, was able to enter and complete a vocational training course and obtain a job to support his family.
From a launch in 1987 with 3 learner/volunteer tutor pairs, the Adult Reading Center has achieved steady, managed growth over the last 27 years to 5 full-time and 4 part-time staff, 6 part-time instructors, and over 130 volunteers assisting adult learners each year.
In 1998, with broad community support, the main building was purchased giving the Center a permanent location. In 2002, an in-kind gift of a modular building was received increasing capacity for additional on-site classroom instruction. Through diligent fundraising efforts, the mortgage was paid in full in March 2007.
In February 2006, the Center was awarded ProLiteracy America Accreditation which acknowledges literacy organizations that are distinguished by superior professional leadership, effective programs, committed governing boards, and outstanding volunteer support.
In FY2013-14, the services the Center provided without charge impacted 772 individuals through 44,273 instructional contact hours, a 54% increase over FY2012-13 (24,339 hours), which include work skills assistance. In addition, we had 133 individuals who volunteered in ways other than tutoring for a total of 4,301 hours. The total cost benefit returned to the community for volunteer and professional instructional hour [www.independentsector.com] was $1,136,631 (FY2012-13, $727,369).
Adult learners who received literacy instruction at the Center during FY2013-14 were primarily non-English speaking individuals. However, a growing number of adults are contacting the Center seeking GED classes. 32% of these learners resided in Harris County. More than 92.5% of adult learners are low- to moderate-income earning 80% or less of the area median family income as established by the Department of Health & Human Services, 2014. Demographics were as follows:
a. Gender: Male, 30%; Female, 70%
b. Age ranges: 18-35, 40%; 36-74, 47%; 55-70, 11%; over 70, 2%
c. Ethnicity: Hispanic or Latino, 75%; Asian, 8%; African-American, 8%; Caucasian,
5%; Other, 1%
• In FY2013-14, 21 individuals completed and received their GED and 34 individuals became U.S. citizens.
• For the past four fiscal years (2010-11 through FY2013-14), we met or exceeded all of our federal and state targets for student improvement as defined by the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Workforce Commission.
• We completed a two-year Citizenship grant from the Department of Homeland Security on September 30, 2013, and exceeded all of our goals.
• We completed a professional video – Growing a Literate Community - which highlights three of our adult learners and includes comments by our President & CEO. The video may be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCuNYOwCfx8.
• In December 2013, we were honored to be selected as a 2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit. Additionally, in the 2013 Pearland and Friendswood Journal’s Annual Reader’s Choice, we were named the Best Local Non-Profit, the Best Learning Center, the Best Community Event (Red Hat Literacy Luncheon), and Best Community Leader (Dale Pillow, President & CEO).
• In a Final Program Audit for a federal grant managed by Catholic Charities, the Adult Reading Center was proud to have earned the highest rating in all categories – Grant Management and Performance, Grant Termination and Transition, Successes, Challenges, and Key Lessons. The Adult Reading Center was a sub-grantee under Catholic Charities, the fiscal agent on a 2010 federal grant.
• Victor Morales, who was an adult learner and transitioned into a volunteer tutor, has assisted 78 individuals in becoming United States citizens. Because of his commitment as a volunteer, Victor was selected in August 2011 by Literacy Texas, the state coalition of literacy providers, as Adult Learner of the Year. In November 2011, he also received the prestigious Ruth J. Colvin and Frank C. Laubach Award for Adult Learner Excellence from ProLiteracy, the national coalition of non-profit literacy providers. From October 2010 through June 2014, he assisted 68 individuals in becoming U.S. Citizens.
• Nina Hayden, a student studying under the Barton Reading & Spelling Curriculum, and our President & CEO Dale Pillow were invited to speak at the prestigious Barbara Bush A Celebration of Reading in Houston in April 2012.
- Year established:1987
- Organization type:Grantseeker
- Country of registration:United States
- Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
- IRS Section:501(c)(3)
- IRS Subsection:None
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