See the November/December 2022 issue of DCLC News & Notes here.
Delaware County Literacy Council Celebrates GED Grads and Other High-Achieving Adult Students
DCLC Press Release
October 6, 2022
Adults who earned their GED with Delaware County Literacy Council (DCLC) in 2020, 2021, or 2022 were honored at a special Student Recognition Ceremony at the Delaware County Intermediate Unit on September 26, 2022. The ceremony also recognized DCLC students who became U.S. citizens, who completed Home Health Aide training, and who won essay contests.
Students with achievements in 2020 and 2021 were honored because DCLC was not able to hold in-person celebrations during those years.
Melis May Sagay, who recently became a U.S. citizen, was the student speaker for the event. She told the guests “I immigrated to America in 2016. I was a green card winner. My son was 2 years old, I was 39, my husband was 40. We spent more than half of our lives in another country. I made a choice; it was not easy; it still is not. But I have never regretted making this choice.” She went on to explain, “America gave us hope that we can do anything, it supported us. …This change made me stronger.”
Kate McGeever, Executive Director of the Delaware County Workforce Development Board, delivered the keynote address, which focused on gratitude. She offered thanks to the children and other loved ones who supported the adult student in their life. She also showered gratitude on the adult students themselves, saying, “I am going to thank you for that first day you walked through those doors at the Literacy Council and said out loud ‘I have a goal’…and for all of the hours that followed.”
Pat Gunnin, Executive Director of DCLC, acknowledged the students’ dedication—even through the pandemic—by declaring, “You can’t stop a dream!” and encouraged students to make their latest accomplishment a first step, telling them, “Don’t stop here!”
Jenn Kacimi, DCLC Director of Curriculum and Instruction, wrapped up the proceedings by telling the adult students, “I am honored to have been part of your journey with Delaware County Literacy Council. Your achievements and perseverance are an inspiration to us all!
Several elected officials representing Delaware County or their staff members attended the celebration, including PA Senator John Kane, Sarah McCullough of PA Senator Tim Kearney’s office, Dana Carter of PA Senator Anthony Williams’ office, PA Representative Gina Curry, and PA Representative Mike Zabel.
Delaware County Literacy Council (DCLC) provides free literacy services to local adults, including online and in-person classes in basic adult literacy, ESL, GED preparation, and digital skills, as well as career services that help people obtain full-time work. To learn more or to get involved, visit https://delcoliteracy.org.
DCLC News & Notes, Summer 2022
See the Summer 2022 issue of DCLC News & Notes here.
Literacy Council’s New Flags Highlight Free Services
Press Release of March 18, 2022
Delaware County Literacy Council (DCLC) recently added some new flags to its front lawn on Providence Avenue in Chester to spread the word about the free services they offer to local adults.
As broadcast by these colorful banners, DCLC’s website—delcoliteracy.org—is the best place learn about the many free classes and the employment help offered by the Literacy Council. Many of DCLC’s classes have moved online since the pandemic, and the DCLC building is open by appointment only, so the website is an important hub of information about DCLC’s offerings.
For example, Adults can take free classes in GED preparation, basic literacy, and English as a Second Language (ESL), or work with a volunteer tutor in those areas. Remote and in-person options are available. Interested adults can enroll for an upcoming session by filling out an interest form at https://bit.ly/DCLC-learn
Another option for adult learners is a free civics-focused ESL class that covers a variety of civics topics, including citizenship, government, geography, taxes, healthcare, and more, with opportunities for students to accelerate quickly and move into free Home Health Aide (HHA) training or GED classes. Immigrants interested in the program can complete an interest form at https://bit.ly/DCLC-NAc
DCLC also offers free job-search help to immigrants and mature workers in conjunction with the Delaware County Workforce Investment Board.
The Back to Work program provides free job-search help to Delaware County residents age 40 and over who have received Unemployment Compensation in the last year and who are looking for full-time work. Employment Coach Elaine Herbert guides participants through all steps of the job search, helping them find jobs that match their skills. Interested mature job-seekers can fill out an interest form at https://bit.ly/BacktoWorkDelco
The Immigrant Employment program offers free job-search help to immigrants living in Delaware County. DCLC employment coaches can help local immigrants look for jobs, complete applications, create a resume, prepare for interviews, and more. Some translation services are available. Interested immigrants can complete an interest form at https://bit.ly/Jobs-Imm
DCLC is also a great place to volunteer! Community members interested in helping a Delaware County neighbor improve his or her literacy skills, in either basic literacy or ESL, can learn about becoming a volunteer tutor at https://delcoliteracy.org/volunteer and complete an application at https://bit.ly/DCLC-VolApp
Take a tip from the flags waving on DCLC’s lawn: Learn about DCLC’s free programs and opportunities by visiting https://delcoliteracy.org.
DCLC News & Notes February/March 2022
See the February/March 2022 issue of DCLC News & Notes here.
Trauma-Informed Practices Help Adult Learners Succeed
According to a recent World Education blog post, “Perhaps now more than ever, adult educators are paying attention to the impact that personal and community trauma has on adult learners’ ability to learn and pursue their goals.”
COVID-19 was a collective trauma we all experienced in the last two years—a trauma felt even more acutely by adult literacy students. As the blog post states, “Those most affected by the devastation of the pandemic are disproportionately people of color and immigrants, especially those who are women. When these adults are our students, using trauma-informed practices will increase their opportunities to learn and pursue their education and career goals. Using trauma-informed practices is an integral part of enacting our values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
Case Manager Wazhma Pal helps DCLC students overcome barriers to learning, which sometimes involves guiding them to resources that can address the traumas they have experienced.
“Attending classes online, managing work and family at the same time can be a real challenge for adult students,” says Wazhma. “Sometimes they struggle to find housing, which is definitely traumatic. For immigrant students, there is the trauma of adjusting to a new country with minimal to no language skills. As the DCLC case manager, I help students connect with organizations that provide services they need. Acknowledging the difficulties in a student’s life also helps them take steps to get help and recognize their own strength.”
With the help of DCLC’s Case Manager Wazhma Pal, DCLC provides literacy instruction that welcomes adult students as individuals who bring their own experiences and challenges to their studies.
You also may be interested in these stories from February/March 2022 DCLC News & Notes.
—DCLC Profile: DaVeda Graham Brings Focus on Community Learning to DCLC Board
—DCLC Offers Free Employment Services and Digital Literacy to Community Members
Adult Students See Lesson on Perseverance in Sidney Poitier’s Life
BLACK HISTORY LESSON ON SIDNEY POITIER INSPIRES STUDENTS
Adult learners in Amy Rosenberg’s Adult Basic Education class read an article about Sidney Poitier’s accomplishments as an actor and activist, but they were most intrigued and inspired by Poitier’s rocky start to his acting career.
According to the Newsela.com article (https://newsela.com/read/sidney-poitier-obituary/id/2001026959/; must register for a free account to access the article), Poitier was thrown out of his first audition.
“[Poitier] was told to read one of the parts. However, with little formal education, he read haltingly and still had a thick West Indian accent.
“Frederick O’Neal, one of the founders of the theater, came up onstage and physically marched Poitier to the door. He angrily told Poitier to stop wasting people’s time. O’Neal added, ‘Why don’t you get yourself a job as a dishwasher or something?’”
Poitier improved his English by listening to the radio and reading newspapers. He auditioned again and was hired on a trial basis. He persevered through other setbacks to become an Oscar-winning actor.
DCLC student Prince (students are identified by first names only) was the first to be inspired by the article. He made the following statement, and his classmates chimed in.
Never give up on your dream. Never give up. Sidney Poitier was thrown out of his audition, but he came back. Always be consistent in whatever you do. Keep focus and keep pressing on. God has something special for you. He will never take your mail to the wrong address. Don’t let difficulties keep you down. Whatever work you put in is what you get out. Nothing good comes easily. Just be consistent and prayerful and see the end result that everything is going to fall into the right place at the right time. When the time comes, nothing can stop you. Continue being you and keep focus. Pay attention to the signs. Do not be afraid to fail. Every time you fail, you are in the process toward your destiny. The more you fail, the closer you get. Always believe in yourself.
Just pass the first step. Never give up. Never stop trying and believing. Your day will come.
Dreams do come true.
Nothing can stop you. Sidney Poitier broke down on-screen color barriers and reached stardom.
Sidney Poitier dropped out of school at age 13. Other people may say, “You won’t do it.” If you listen, you might lose control, but if you focus and stay with it, you can get to where you want to be. Some people give you encouragement and others discourage you. Don’t listen to the discouragers. Don’t look back. Just look forward, and you will get there.
The first step is the hardest step. Never stop. Your day will come. Thank you for inspiring me. I will endure to get where I want to be. If he can do it, so can I. You have to go through something to be something. I am embarking on new things. The way you come in to DCLC is not the way you leave. You must have vision.
You can’t give up on anything.
As long as you believe that you can do it, you can set your mind to any goal.
There is nothing impossible to they who will try. Be who you are and say what you feel. Poitier was born an actor. He pursued his studies. Sometimes you don’t know what your calling is at first. He found his calling and didn’t give up. Don’t give up. One day you will make it.
Whatever you have been through, others have gone before you. Everybody has had struggles and hardships in life. They went through it firsthand. I can relate to what they went through. Different day, same problem. People can stand in your way and not have faith in you and reject you. Some people are still prejudiced with the mindset from the past. Sidney Poitier said that he was privileged to stand on the shoulders of the African American actors that went before him to see where he might go. I started out wanting to stay in school to help others who need help. I can’t hesitate. Motivation is the key. We went through so many struggles, day in and day out. At DCLC, I am at ease and relaxed, content with where I am today, working to achieve my goals and dreams.
We at DCLC are inspired by the preseverance and determination shown by these adult learners, as they work toward their goals and dreams!
Image courtesy of https://theblackamericanglossary.com/entries/people/Sidney_Poitier/
DCLC News & Notes November/December 2021
See the November/December 2021 issue of DCLC News & Notes here.
Local and National Grants Help Literacy Council Offer Free Services
Press Release of December 3, 2021
Delaware County Literacy Council (DCLC) has received generous broad-based support for the free literacy and employment services it offers to local adults. National and local foundations have recognized the importance of DCLC’s work in the community by awarding grants to DCLC during 2021.
DCLC helps adults in Delaware County develop reading, writing, math and English language skills by offering free in-person and online classes, as well as job training and employment coaching to specific populations. Providing services that allow adults to improve their skills and land family-sustaining jobs has been especially vital during the economic uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Richard G. and Audrey A. Brinkman Foundation located in Philadelphia awarded DCLC with a generous $10,000.00 grant in 2021. Created in 2008, this foundation primarily funds a variety of educational programs to honor the memory of Richard and Audrey Brinkman. DCLC learned about the foundation through Lisa Brinkman, daughter of Richard and Audrey Brinkman. Lisa Brinkman experienced firsthand how free adult literacy services can transform lives when she shared her time and talent as a volunteer DCLC basic literacy tutor, helping an adult student improve their reading and writing.
Another local grant came from the City of Chester Grant Program, through The Community’s Foundation. The grant supports community-based programs and projects that improve the quality of life for residents of Chester, PA. Funds are provided by a Giving Circle of donors who have a personal interest in supporting the City of Chester. DCLC was founded in 1975 to offer reading and writing help to Chester residents and continues to provide services to adults living in Chester and all of Delaware County, including instruction in basic literacy, GED preparation, and English as a Second Language (ESL).
A foundation associated with a well-known author also provided support to DCLC in 2021. The Nora Roberts Foundation awarded DCLC with a $3,000.00 grant. The Nora Roberts Foundation focuses primarily on supporting literacy organizations that serve a local community. Nora Roberts is a New York Times bestselling author of more than 230 novels. She is also the author of the bestselling In Death series written under the pen name J.D. Robb. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.
Grants sometimes can provide material assistance, too. For example, the national organization ProLiteracy awarded DCLC with a free subscription to News for You Online, a weekly newspaper with topical articles and literacy lessons that students can access online. The subscription was awarded through the Mobile Learning Fund.
This online tool has been especially helpful for DCLC adult students who are learning virtually. Since the spring of 2020, DCLC has been offering classes and tutoring via online video platforms. News for You Online has come in handy during this shift in instruction. As one volunteer tutor explains, “My student finds the articles in News for You Online interesting and informative. News for You helps to fill in the gaps in her education and furthers her interest in current events.”
“We are grateful to these foundations for their support,” said DCLC Executive Director Pat Gunnin. “DCLC is generously funded by a variety of sources, including government grants, individuals, and corporate sponsors. This wide-ranging support truly makes a difference in the lives of the adults who study at Delaware County Literacy Council,” he added.
To get involved and/or learn more about DCLC’s programs, including free online and in-person classes for local adults, visit www.delcoliteracy.org.
Fun Workshops & Delco VIPs Headline Expert Academy Telethon
Press Release of October 4, 2021
Delaware County Literacy Council (DCLC) is once again shining a spotlight on some of Delco’s best and brightest in an online celebration of adult literacy. The 2021 Expert Academy Telethon will feature accomplished professionals with ties to our area sharing knowledge in exciting workshops. The 2021 Champions of Adult Literacy will also be honored during the online event, and some Delco heroes and special guests will appear.
The Expert Academy Telethon is free and will be held at 7 PM on Wednesday, October 20. Details are available at https://delcoliteracy.org/donate/expert-academy-telethon/
The three lively workshops by experts will focus on writing for TV, on singing, and on cooking.
TV writer and producer Phil Rosenthal will discuss comedy writing in his insightful workshop “Writing for Television: How I Made My Life into a Sitcom.” Phil is the creator of the legendary sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. He currently stars in the food travelogue series Somebody Feed Phil on Netflix. Phil will be interviewed by his wife Monica Horan Rosenthal, a Delaware County native whom fans will recognize as Amy MacDougall/Barrone from Everybody Loves Raymond.
Kathy Deitch, a Ridley Park native who starred as Shen Shen in the original Broadway ensemble cast of Wicked, will help you take your singing voice to new heights in her innovative interactive workshop “Anyone Can Sing.” Kathy’s performing credits include Rent directed by Neil Patrick Harris, Silence! The Musical (LA Weekly Award), American Horror Story: Freak Show, and the thriller Loft, opposite Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet.
Local chef Alex Garfinkel will demonstrate how to prepare some delectable small dishes from Spain in his workshop “Tapas Three Ways.” Alex started his catering business out of his parents’ kitchen in Delaware County while catering for the movie Creed, which was filming in Philadelphia. Alex learned his craft in some of the best restaurants in Philadelphia, including Le Bec Fin, Morimoto, Amada, and Lacroix. He also studied under Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz in Spain. Alex is chef and co-owner of Balboa Catering and Balboa at American Silk supper club in Philadelphia.
“These workshop will give viewers the opportunity to get out of their comfort zones and learn something new, just as the adults who study at DCLC show every day that they are brave enough to keep learning and challenging themselves so that they can improve their lives,” says DCLC’s Executive Director Pat Gunnin.
To add to the evening’s excitement, Brad Ingelsby, Villanova alum and creator of the award-winning HBO mini-series Mare of Easttown, will be sharing a message of encouragement, as well as his thoughts on literacy and some insight into his work. Mare of Easttown, which is set in Delaware County, won several primetime Emmys this year and made Delaware County and our distinctive accent the talk of the entertainment world!
News anchor Lucy Bustamante of NBC10/Telemundo62, who resides in Haverford, Delaware County, will be the emcee for the evening. She is the daughter of Cuban refugees who migrated to the U.S., which gives her a unique appreciation of the challenges faced by immigrants who come to DCLC to learn English.
The inspiring 2021 Champions of Adult Literacy will be honored during the telethon. Neighbor to Neighbor Community Development Corporation in Sharon Hill will be recognized as the 2021 Community Champion; Dr. Monica Taylor, Vice-Chair of County Council, will be honored as the 2021 Hometown Hero Champion; and Temadji Kantangar will be honored as the 2021 Student Champion.
Anyone interested in learning even more from the experts can check out the premium-package donation options. With these packages, individuals can get writing tips or singing tips directly from experts Phil Rosenthal or Kathy Deitch in live Zoom sessions held later in the year. A four-course meal prepared by Chef Alex Garfinkel held at Balboa at American Silk is also available through the premium packages. Learn more at https://bit.ly/reg-experts.
The Expert Academy Telethon is generously supported by Major Sponsors Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union and PECO and Supporting Sponsors Brinker Simpson and Sun East Federal Credit Union. Other generous sponsors of the event include King’s Automotive, Rose Valley Appraisal, White Horse Village, HOP Energy, John Cipollone Heating & Cooling, KPInterface, Monarch Staffing, Rafferty Subaru, Swarthmore House Parts, Wayne Jewelers, and Ameriprise Advisor Michael Hartnett. Any business or organization interested in sponsoring the Expert Academy Telethon can phone Susan at 610-876-4811 or visit the event website at https://delcoliteracy.org/donate/expert-academy-telethon/.
The Delaware County Literacy Council provides free literacy services that help local adults develop reading, writing, math, and English language skills so that these adults can thrive in the workplace and community. To learn more or to get involved, visit www.delcoliteracy.org.