Thankful for Literacy and Generosity
Written by Meaghan Shea, First Literacy Intern and student at UMass Boston
As the year comes to a close, we tend to spend a lot of time thinking about what we’re grateful for – but how often do we consider how grateful we are for our ability to read and write? Literacy is an important part of our daily lives, giving us the opportunity to interact with the world in ways we wouldn’t be able to if we were unable to read and write.
Throughout the month of September, we ran a campaign to increase awareness of those struggling with low literacy. We asked supporters, scholars, staff, workshop participants, and board members one question … “What does literacy mean to you?”.
Something that was mentioned over and over again was literacy as hope, as opportunity, as freedom. Sitting, trying to come up with my own answer to this, I realized how hard it can be to think about something that I so easily take advantage of. But the fact is, there are adults throughout the country and the state of Massachusetts who are struggling to read and write every day. A 2022 report from Think Impact notes that 21% of adults struggle with low literacy and 54% of adults have literacy levels below 6th grade. This is an issue that First Literacy aims to fix.
The Impact of Your Support
November is National Family Literacy Month, which makes it the perfect month to reflect on how grateful we are to have supporters who care just as much about adult literacy as we do. At First Literacy we envision a world in which all adults are able to reach their full potential. Without our supporters, we wouldn’t be able to continue following our mission – to ensure that adult learners and adult educators receive the support and resources they need to make our vision a reality.
Literacy has the power to change lives, as we’ve seen from our many scholars and workshop participants. Scholars like Catheline continue to inspire the work we do and resources we offer. She moved from Haiti to the United States after facing challenges regarding her education. Catheline started school in 1968 and continued working through economic challenges finally graduating high school in 2007. To this day, she is working on her education to become a health project coordinator. Her success and constant search for continued education has inspired her peers and her family. She was nominated by the Asian American Civic Association for a First Literacy scholarships which gave her an opportunity to continue improving her English language skills and further her education. The First Literacy scholarship along with her incredible determination is why she’s able to pursue her studies in nursing and business management.
Likewise, our professional development workshops are essential in providing educators with more tools and resources to better support adult learners. One workshop participant, Yvonne, stated …
“First Literacy provides support and enrichment in all of the areas that I am so passionate about.”
Having attended more than a dozen workshops, Yvonne has found success and inspiration to better serve the adult learners in her classroom. What she’s learned in First Literacy professional development workshops she uses to help her in her work as the Director of Education at Beverly Bootstraps.
Grateful for Generosity
Thanks to the generosity and support of our donors and supporters, First Literacy is able to provide grants for innovative Adult Basic Education (ABE) programs and curriculum initiatives, scholarships to adult learners looking to better their education, and free professional development workshops for educators to help ensure they have the support they need to provide adult learners with the high-quality education needed to reach their full potential.
Due to the generosity of our supporters First Literacy is able to achieve incredible things. Last year, we reached 43 cities and 7,890 adult learners through our programs, 204 educators attended workshops, and we helped 30 adult learners continue their education through our scholarship program. We are continuously grateful to our donors and appreciate their support of First Literacy’s mission to fund innovation in adult literacy.
Giving the Gift of Literacy
November is often unofficially seen as the beginning of the giving season – and what better way to kick off the giving season than to support First Literacy? With your help our impact will continue to be significant and life changing.