11/10/2014 College Student Studies the CLC

Graduate Student Studies the CLC

East Carolina University graduate student, Steven Baldon studied the Cabarrus Literacy Council (CLC) and featured our organization in his research paper for Introduction to Adult Education.

In the process, he also attended our Tutor Training Workshop and became an active volunteer himself!

Our thanks to Steven Baldon for bringing additional awareness to the CLC and for helping us elevate the literacy rate in Cabarrus County.  Thanks again for allowing us to publish part of your paper here.

Here's a peek at his paper:

Site Visit:  The Cabarrus Literacy Council

The organization that I chose for my site visit was The Cabarrus Literacy Council (CLC).  CLC is a 501c(3) non-profit organization whose main location of operation is the public library in Concord, North Carolina.  CLC is not housed in a permanent facility.  It partners with organizations and businesses within its service area such as the YMCA, public libraries, restaurants, and other private businesses and organizations to conduct its programs. CLC provides its services to people throughout Cabarrus County and other surrounding areas – most notably the Charlotte/Mecklenburg County area which currently does not have an agency to deal with issues related to literacy.  CLC is led by a board of directors consisting of 10 volunteer members.  With the exception of one paid position – the Literacy Coordinator – all the staff and tutor positions are filled by volunteers who come from all walks of life in the community.  Each volunteer is put through several screening processes, and receives tutor training prior to working with students in CLC’s programs. 

CLC receives the majority of its funding through grants from various sources such as a small city grant which has to be applied for on an annual basis.  Other funding sources include other literacy organizations throughout the country, local organizations such as The Cannon Foundation, private organizations, fundraisers, and private gifts and donations.  CLC does not receive state or federal funding.

Angie F. Wilson currently serves in the role of Literacy Coordinator at CLC, and oversees the operation of the agency.  Angie provided me with the opportunity to visit CLC on two occasions in order for me to gain a complete knowledge of how CLC serves the community.  On September 27th, I attended CLC’s “Tutor Training Workshop” with 15 other prospective volunteer tutors.  Angie and the chairperson of the board of directors facilitated the training which was conducted by existing volunteer tutors.  The training provided us with a background of CLC; an overview of how to conduct tutoring sessions with program participants using the Laubach Way to Reading curriculum; tips about teaching English to speakers of other languages; how reading groups are conducted at the Cabarrus Detention Center; and about other volunteer opportunities at CLC.  Having successfully completed this training, I became qualified to be a volunteer tutor for the organization.  On October 15th, I conducted a formal site visit of the organization.  I sat down with Angie and asked her questions about the organizational structure, operation, and programs at CLC.

CLC offers literacy programs to people who are 18 years of age and over – with no educational level requirement – in the following categories:

·         Basic English

o   Reading

o   Writing

o   Speaking

·         English to Speakers of other languages – English as a Second Language (ESOL)

·         Reading groups in the county detention center

·         Preparation for high school equivalency exam (GED)

·         Preparation for U.S. citizenship exam

 

As of January of this year, CLC had 125 volunteer tutors on staff to provide these services to 176 students.  While the majority of these students require Spanish speakers, Angie pointed out that there is a growing constituency of Arabic, Russian, and Asian – including Vietnamese and Hmong – populations that require speakers as well. 

As stated on its website (http://cabarrusliteracy.org/), CLC’s mission is, “To elevate the literacy level of adults in Cabarrus County, educate decision makers on literacy issues, and empower students to enhance their life experiences and reach personal development goals by equipping them with literacy skills”.  In the tutor training workshop, I learned that 14% of Cabarrus County residents over the age of 25 never received a high school diploma or equivalent (GED).  That equates to approximately 19,190 people who live in the county.  CLC supports its mission through active engagement with other local non-profit agencies that work with job placement; other counties that do not have literacy programs in place such as Mecklenburg County; criminal justice systems; and school administrators to recruit students for its programs.  However, the vast majority of students enrolled in CLC programs come from student referrals.