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Literacy training session set

A training session for those interested in joining the literacy council as tutors will be held Monday, Sept. 30, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the STEPS Inc. office.

This will be the second tutor training session. The first was held in May.

STEPS Inc. whose corporate offices are located at 225 Industrial Park Road, is partnering with the council in the tutoring effort, and is planning a celebration for those in that group finishing up their required training.

“We (can) do some kind of ceremony and make a big deal about it – because it is a big deal,” Amy Beatson, a vice president with STEPS, said at the time.

STEPS and the literacy council are looking to reestablish or strengthen local Adult Basic Education, English as a Second Language, and Family Literacy efforts. A litany of community organizations and groups has offered support to the endeavor, including the Barbara Rose Johns Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library, which 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.

Members of the council met recently to recommence their efforts, reiterating that recruitment of tutors and their training remain the priority. The group has 10 tutors “in the pipeline,” but the goal is to have 25 so that the effort can hit full stride, Calhoun said.

A pilot tutoring effort focusing on one-on-one and small-group instruction has already begun. As part of it, 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 this month.

Ten hours of instruction is necessary for tutors. Following a five-hour day of classroom time, the rest of the instruction can be completed online. Calhoun said there may be efforts to facilitate the computer work.

“We want to do things right,” Calhoun said. “We want to know people are prepared for what’s out there.”

Organizers said the intent is to start with the English as a Second Language program, but eventually the goal is to connect with other programs and efforts and offer programs to help former inmates, and people prepare for the citizenship test.

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, organizers also got some good news in August, being approved for $10,000 in 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,” Calhoun said at the time of grant’s announcement.

A Facebook page has also been set up to advertise literacy council meetings and provide updates on activities and happenings.

“If there are persons that may be interested in attending the training session, please email me ASAP,” said Lonnie Calhoun, one of the organizers of the literacy effort. Those interested in tutoring can contact Calhoun by cell phone at (804) 307-4748 or by email atcharlit401@gmail.com.