A waitlist of 300, Nashville nonprofit on a mission to boost adult literacy rates

adult reading.jpeg
Posted at 9:51 PM, Feb 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-24 23:26:18-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It may be hard to believe, but according to the Nashville Adult Literacy Council, one in five Nashville adults is at the lowest level of literacy.

Since 1982, NALC, has been helping adults improve their reading, writing, and English-speaking skills.

"We really see it permeating someone's life. It's not just being able to read a book suddenly. It's being able to access opportunities you didn't have before," said Mary Beth Harding, vice president of community development of NALC.

Opportunities that can be life-changing for adults who perhaps didn't get the support they needed while in school, or for people learning English as a second language.

"That could be maybe getting your driver's license, that could be learning how to read to your children, so you can help them with school. But, we've also had learners say, 'I want to be able to write a love letter to my wife, or I want to be able to write my grandmother's recipes down for my grandchildren'," Harding said.

The program is volunteer-driven. About 400 people receive tutoring each year, either in a class setting or via one-on-one services.

Currently, there is a waitlist of about 300 people, which means it could take about six months for learners to get paired with a tutor. That's why the Nashville Adult Literacy Council is looking for help and hoping to get more volunteers to sign up.

"We live in a world that maybe tells people who can't read and write well that they are not so worthy of things. And we are saying you are. You're worthy of living out every dream you have. And we're just going to help you get there," Harding said.

Volunteers who sign up are paired with learners for three months and no prior experience is necessary.

"We'll provide all the curriculum that you need. What we need is someone who is going to be dedicated, and friendly and welcoming to someone," Harding said.

If you would like to learn more about the volunteering opportunity, visit NALC's website HERE.

Get NewsChannel 5 Now, wherever, whenever, always free.

Watch the live stream below, and download our apps on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and more. Click here to learn more.