Literacy Council receives funding, continues search for volunteers

Published 10:05 am Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Organizers of Prince Edward County’s revamped literacy efforts got some good news, being approved for funding by the Wish You Well Foundation.

“With the grant funding, we can begin our strategic planning for small classroom-based instruction and special target populations,” said Lonnie Calhoun, who has been facilitating creation of the Prince Edward County Literacy Council.

STEPS and the literacy council are looking to re-establish or strengthen local Adult Basic Education, English as a Second Language, and Family Literacy efforts. A litany of community organizations and groups have offered support to the endeavor.

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The Barbara Rose Johns Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library will house the tutoring sessions and will also offer computer instruction. An eventually-to-be-hired director will spread the efforts to other locations across the county.

Overall, instructional efforts will include functional ability such as writing a resume, and doing a mock interview. Advocates would also like an emphasis on incorporating technology such as computers into the daily life of the learners.

Meanwhile, Calhoun noted after a summer break, it is also time to resume recruitment of volunteers and the training associated with becoming a tutor.

“Looking forward, we still need to grow our tutor base to 25 tutors so that we can respond to the needs of individuals and small groups in Prince Edward County,” Calhoun said. “Please continue to inform your friends, colleagues and associates of our immediate needs — and remember, without tutors, there can be no literacy programming. In addition, we would like to identify groups and organizations in Prince Edward that would benefit from adult education programming.”

The council’s next meeting will be in the next few weeks, and there might also be a training session for potential tutors later this month.

The first group of future tutors has gone through a training session, and a pilot tutoring effort focusing on one-on-one and small-group instruction has begun. As part of the pilot, organizers are asking tutors to reach out to those they know of in need of instruction and begin teaching. Organizers hope the primary tutoring effort will commence later in September. Current efforts are to generate another 20 tutors.

One difficulty is getting potential tutors together to receive the training, but Calhoun notes that it helps that other than the one-day in the classroom, the rest of the instruction can be completed online.

A Facebook page has been set up to advertise literacy council meetings and provide updates on activities and happenings. Those interested in tutoring can contact Calhoun by cellphone at (804) 307-4748 or by email at