Free community service accepting new students & volunteer tutors
Our adult literacy program is on the move – to South Piedmont Community College! The college, which has supported the program since its launch in late 2019, will now house this free community service in the School of College & Career Readiness.
The move will give students more opportunities and a larger reach for the program to help more families in our community. The program’s current 19 students and 7 tutors will now have access to additional resources and can use the college’s campus as a meeting place if they’d like. RJ Lightsey, Common Heart’s literacy program manager, will oversee the program at SPCC.
As Common Heart focuses on its expanding food pantry network and economic empowerment programs, adult literacy needed a new home and reaching out to SPCC was top of mind, Common Heart Executive Director Keith Adams said. SPCC has supported the program with free testing services since Common Heart took the lead in reviving adult literacy in Union County after the sudden closure of the Union County Literacy Council in the summer of 2019.
“I can’t imagine a better place for this program to land,” he said. “SPCC’s dedication and resources will allow the program not only to continue, but to grow and thrive. I’m really excited to see how many more lives will be changed by adding adult literacy services to their already robust offerings for adult learners.”
Kelly Stegall, dean of the School of College & Career Readiness, said SPCC is excited about the potential for this program not only for new students but students currently enrolled in SPCC who could benefit from the supplemental support – at no charge. Stegall said it was important to keep this program as a free service for the community. Students do not have to live in Union County to receive help and the program will be offered at campuses in both Union & Anson counties.
“We see this as our charge,” she said. “We just want to give back and help people in our communities increase their English language skills or their literacy levels. We know that people with higher levels of literacy are able to secure the credentials necessary to move up as far as their economic mobility goes. Once we’re able to help support students in increasing that level of literacy or increasing that English language skill, the doors are wide open for them.”
Most of the students who come for help now have never been to college and it’s a chance to encourage that excitement and zest for learning, Lightsey said. At SPCC, tutors will be able to meet with students in the evenings on campus which is something Common Heart didn’t have available. Lightsey said he’s heard from a long-time tutor that several students are eager to continue lessons because evening tutoring sessions will be available.
“Just to be on the grounds and look around and see what’s there could be a different experience for them, it could be more exciting,” he said.
If you’d like to volunteer as a tutor or enroll as a student for FREE help, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 704-290-5261.