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Fighting Illiteracy Helps Others Reach Their Full Economic Potential

Submitted by the Literacy Coalition of Oswego County

OSWEGO, NY –Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, which was September 13 through 19, was an occasion to remember the special urgency of increasing reading skills in Oswego County, where up to 20 percent of residents function at the lowest level of literacy.

That news comes from the Literacy Coalition of Oswego County, which is working to promote greater awareness of literacy needs in our community. As part of the celebration of Literacy Week, proclamations were read at the Fulton and Oswego Common Council meetings and at a meeting of the Oswego County Legislature. The proclamations invited the residents of Oswego County to join in highlighting the societal, cultural, personal, and economic importance of literacy. It also recognized literacy as the fundamental building block of all learning and the fact that literacy is essential to the success and growth of every citizen.

At the presentation of the proclamations, attendees were able to hear the tearful testimonies of two adult learners whose lives have been changed by improving their basic literacy and math skills. “I went to Literacy Volunteers and through the grace of God, they helped me out a lot.” stated Shirley Slate. “I’ve never written an essay before in my whole life and now I did.”

Illiteracy rests at the heart of many problems in our area. Those who cannot read well will have difficulty reaching their economic potential. Illiteracy often goes hand in hand with poverty and increases the chances of ending up in prison or in poor health.

The Literacy Coalition, along with the Regional Adult Education Network (RAEN), will be sponsoring a special speaker and fair addressing the link between literacy and the “Bridges Out of Poverty” on Thurs., Nov. 4 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

“We salute the many volunteers who are working to reduce illiteracy in our area, and we

encourage others to get involved,” said Jane Murphy, executive director, Literacy Volunteers of Oswego County. More information about supporting literacy programs through financial contributions and/or volunteering is available at the coalition’s website http://oswegocounty.com/literacyco/index.html.

“In the upcoming season of gift-giving, we should remember that one of the greatest gifts we can give is the ability to read and write,” Murphy said. For information on literacy programs or how to join the Literacy Coalition, please contact Jane Murphy at 342-8839 or email [email protected]