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Scrabble Fest boosts OCO Literacy Volunteers

OSWEGO, NY – For the past eight years, Scrabble Fest has spelled success for Oswego County Opportunities Literacy Volunteers.

The Compass Federal Credit Union team successfully defended its title by capturing first place in OCO Literacy Volunteers ninth annual Diane Falise Memorial Scrabble Fest. Team members included Tom O’Toole, Joanne O’Toole, Patrick O’Toole and Devin O’Toole.
The Compass Federal Credit Union team successfully defended its title by capturing first place in OCO Literacy Volunteers ninth annual Diane Falise Memorial Scrabble Fest. Team members included Tom O’Toole, Joanne O’Toole, Patrick O’Toole and Devin O’Toole.

One of the areas most anticipated fundraisers; Scrabble Fest helps to raise awareness of OCO Literacy Volunteers and its efforts to combat illiteracy in Oswego County.

According to program coordinator, Meg Henderson, 12% of the adult population in Oswego County read at the fifth grade level of below and 50% of newly enrolled students in the Literacy Volunteers program  read below a third grade level.

“It’s an issue that has to be addressed,” said Henderson. “These individuals are unable to do what many take for granted such as reading newspapers and magazines, medication labels, recipes and most books. OCO Literacy Volunteers offers the opportunity for them to gain the literary skills and computer skills necessary for daily activities and more. Thanks to the community support we received from individuals and businesses who helped sponsor the event, including: National Grid, G&C Foods, Ultimate Software, One Group, POMCO, Fidelis Care New York, Glider Oil, Key Bank, Eastern Shore Associates, Grossman St. Amour, Burritt Motors, Nelson Law Firm, Pathfinder and Sutton Real Estate;  those who participated, and the work of our planning committee Scrabble Fest raised more than $15,700 that will be used to help us continue our mission of increasing literacy rates in Oswego County.”

While Scrabble Fest was an unqualified success as a fundraiser, the highlight of the evening was the message delivered by an individual who has benefited from the services OCO Literacy Volunteers offers.

“I’m grateful for what OCO Literacy Volunteers has done for me,” said OCO Literacy Volunteers English learning Student of the Year Ricardo Canales. “OCO Literacy Volunteers is the best decision I ever made.  Obtaining my citizenship is priceless to me and OCO Literacy Volunteers made it possible!”

OCO Literacy Volunteers also recognized Basic Literacy Learner of the Year Pete Felt and Tutor of the Year Bridgette Seguin.

“Being involved with OCO Literacy Volunteers is a very rewarding experience,” said Seguin. “It’s always a joy to see the excitement in the students’ eyes as they progress on their path towards literacy.”

“Ricardo and Bridgette’s stories were inspiring,” added Henderson. “They captured the essence of what OCO Literacy Volunteers is all about and the impact it is having on those who access the program and on the community in general.”

OCO Literacy Volunteers works to increase literacy in Oswego County by providing confidential services such as Basic English literacy to improve and develop reading and writing skills, simple math skills, and computer literacy. All services and materials are available free of charge to those wishing to access the program.

For more information on OCO Literacy Volunteers, or to learn how you can become a tutor, call Henderson at 315-342-8839 or visit www.oco.org

OCO is a private, non-profit agency that has been supporting communities throughout Oswego County since 1966.

A member agency of the United Way of Greater Oswego County, OCO provides more than 50 vital services throughout 80 separate locations.

For more information, visit www.oco.org