Volunteer tutors needed for literacy program

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A literacy aid program that helps illiterate adults learn to read and write is seeking volunteers to tutor students.

The program will be held in Vernon at 2808 Yellow Jacket Drive. 

“We are in the throes of trying to bring in younger blood, especially tutors,” program president Mary Ann Pelletier said. 

The program has become rejuvenated with Vernon City Clerk Candice Hodges stepping up to volunteer. Other people interested in volunteering can contact Hodges at 850-527-5250. 

The program used to operate at four centers throughout Washington County, including one spot in Caryville, but has since been whittled down to the sole Vernon site.

Adult students looking to become literate are also welcome.

“Some of them don’t have a driver’s license,” Pelletier said. “Some can’t count money. Some have been unable to get promoted at work because of their reading skills.”

Previous students have been in their 70s and sought help from the program because they felt passed over in their Bible study classes, she said. Pelletier taught the man to read.

“It made me feel good he was applying himself at that age,” she said.

Tutors will address the needs of a student. Additional help will be offered preparing for the GED, and learning about finances, health, and technology. 

Learning to read gives people self-esteem, Pelletier said.

“They get in the background because they can’t read,” she said. “We should never criticize them. Help them. Train them.”

Not being able to read keeps people from doing crossword puzzles, reading grocery labels and traffic signs, and handling finances, Pelletier said.

“To me, it’s a part of life,” she said. 

Open hours will be Wednesday from 1-2 p.m and the second and fourth Tuesday 5-7 p.m., with optional hours available with appointment, Hodges said.