Many people in Manatee County struggle with literacy. In fact, statistics show that one in five adults in Manatee County reads, writes, or does basic math at below a third-grade level. Some are immigrants whose first language isn’t English and some are simply victims of their circumstances. The good news is, there’s an incredible local organization working hard to help.
The Manatee Literacy Council is a volunteer-based, non-profit organization that is on a mission to help Manatee County residents attain independence through literacy. They do this by teaching skills such as reading, writing, understanding, and speaking the English language.
Some of the programs offered include Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language (ESL). They’ve also partnered with Goodwill to provide a workplace literacy program that is specifically designed for workers who do not speak English as their native language.
In addition, the Manatee Literacy Council also offers classes to help residents seeking U.S. Citizenship prepare for the Naturalization Test.
Florida’s Literacy Problem
You might be surprised to learn that the state of Florida has the third-lowest adult literacy level in the entire country. Not only do many adult residents here struggle with basic literacy, but it’s also been shown that a mother’s literacy is the biggest factor impacting a child’s ability to read. By helping adults improve their literacy, the Manatee Literacy Council is helping entire families.
To show just how important the work they’re doing really is, consider these statistics:
- Children who have parents with low literacy levels have a 72% chance of being at the lowest reading level.
- Low literacy costs more than $225 billion annually due to unemployment and lost tax revenue.
- There are an estimated 160,000 people in the United States on waiting lists for adult education programs like those Manatee Literacy Council provides!
Volunteer Your Time to Support Local Literacy!
The Manatee Literacy Council is always looking for volunteers to help. No experience is necessary – the council will provide free tutor training and ongoing support. This includes a monthly “Tutor Tea” where everyone gets together online and talks about challenges and opportunities. Often, there will also be a guest speaker to help tutors learn new skills and expand their knowledge. Interested? Check out this link to learn more about volunteering and submit an application.
Tutoring not your thing? No worries! There are many other ways to volunteer. Options include helping with office work, data entry, program development, community relations, and more. You can also volunteer to help during special events and fundraisers.
If you don’t have time to volunteer, consider making a financial donation to help support all the great work they’re doing. This organization doesn’t receive any local, state, or feral funding, so donations are always appreciated.
Intersted in Learning More?
Do you know someone who could benefit from one or more of the Manatee Literacy Council’s programs? If so, you’ll be glad to know that other than a one-time $20 fee to cover the initial assessment, all of their services are completely free for Manatee County residents. To get started, complete the online learner interest form or call them at 941-746-8197.
September is also Literacy Awareness Month. Follow the Manatee Literacy Council’s Facebook page to keep up with announcements about upcoming events happening this month and beyond!