Delaware County Literacy Council Celebrates GED Grads and Other High-Achieving Adult Students

Students pose with elected officials

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.

Nicole Zampitella of Clifton Heights, Larissa Reason of Marcus Hook, and Adrian Buffalo of Lansdowne celebrate at the Student Recognition Ceremony held by Delaware County Literacy Council (DCLC). They were three of the eleven adults who earned their GED with DCLC in the 2020 to 2022 program 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.

Students pose with elected officials
Elected officials representing Delaware County congratulated adult students who were honored at the Student Recognition Ceremony held by Delaware County Literacy Council. (DCLC). Shown left to right are PA Representative Mike Zabel; PA Senator John Kane; DCLC Student Melis May Sagay of Drexel Hill, who earned her U.S. citizenship and won the Sun East “People Helping People” essay contest; Most Bilkis Sultana of Upper Darby, who was honored for her Anti-Racism essay; Dulce Zelaya of Upper Darby, who completed Home Health Aide training; Sonia Bermeo-Talbot of Norwood, who completed Home Health Aide training; and PA Representative Gina Curry.

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.

Delaware County Literacy CouncilReceives Generous DCIGRA Grant to Promote Services

Group of people and oversized check

DCLC Press Release
September 28, 2022

Delaware County Literacy Council (DCLC) received a generous grant from the Delaware County Interactive Gaming Revenue Authority (DCIGRA) to help promote its free programs and services.

A check representing the $25,000.00 grant was presented to DCLC Executive Director Pat Gunnin and members of DCLC’s board of directors and staff on Thursday, September 22, 2022.

DCIGRA Board Chair Paul K. Johnson said the grant would help DCLC with “local marketing efforts to promote literacy services and resources.”

DCLC Executive Director Pat Gunnin expressed gratitude for the generous grant, saying, “This will really help us reach every corner of Delaware County so that adults needing our services will learn about us and get the help they need.”

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.

Caption for photo: Paul K. Johnson, Board Chair of the Delaware County Interactive Gaming Revenue Authority (DCIGRA) [back row, fifth from left], and Stefan Roots, DCIGRA Board Member (back row, fourth from left), present Delaware County Literacy Council (DCLC) staff and board members with a symbolic check representing the recent $25,000.00 grant to help DCLC promote its free services and programs within the community. Shown in photo, front row, left to right: DCLC Staff Members Jennifer LaPorte, Marvis Daniel, Wazhma Pal, Kiera Morales, and Elaine Herbert; back row, left to right: DCLC Board Member Peter Matthews, DCLC Staff Member Deb Charley, DCLC Board Member Rick Durante, DCIGRA Board Member Stefan Roots, DCIGRA Board Chair Paul K. Johnson, DCLC Executive Director Pat Gunnin, DCLC Board Member Nichole Kistler, and DCLC Staff Member Chandra Waters.

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.

Delaware County Literacy Council (DCLC) is putting its message of free classes and employment services for adults on display for all to see with a set of new feather banners on their front lawn in Chester. To learn more about DCLC’s free programs, visit https://delcoliteracy.org.

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.

Local and National Grants Help Literacy Council Offer Free Services

DCLC logo

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

Kathy Deitch, Phil Rosenthal, Alex Garfinkel

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.

Brad Ingelsby
Brad Ingelsby, creator of the HBO mini-series Mare of Easttown, will be one of the Delaware County special guests appearing at the Literacy Council’s free Expert Academy Telethon, held online on Wednesday, October 20 at 7:00 PM.

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.

Harrah’s Supports Delaware County Literacy Council with Generous Grant

Harrahs and DCLC staff with check

Press Release of August 9, 2021

Delaware County Literacy Council (DCLC) was recently awarded a generous grant of $5,000.00 from Harrah’s Philadelphia through the Caesars Foundation.

Representatives of Harrah’s Philadelphia Racetrack & Casino gathered at DCLC’s building in Chester to celebrate the grant by presenting a symbolic check to DCLC staff members

Harrah’s Philadelphia team members gathered at Delaware County Literacy Council (DCLC) in Chester to celebrate a $5,000.00 grant awarded to DCLC by Harrah’s through Caesars Foundation. Shown with the check are (L to R): Katey Kimpel, Harrah’s Director of Marketing; Chris Albrecht, Harrah’s Senior Vice President and General Manager; Pat Gunnin, DCLC Executive Director; Liz Brenner, DCLC Director of Student Support Services; Patty Cain, Harrah’s Vice President of Human Resources; Scott Love, Harrah’s Director of Hospitality and DCLC Board Member; Nick Capriotti, Harrah’s Vice President of Finance; and Matt Conner, Harrah’s Vice President of Security and Facilities/Engineer.

“DCLC teaches reading, writing, and math to local adults. Harrah’s is proud to support these efforts that are so vital to our community,” said Harrah’s Vice President of Human Resources Patty Cain.

The generous gift will help DCLC to continue offering remote and in-person classes in adult basic education, English as a Second Language (ESL), and GED preparation to adults in Delaware County.

Since opening in 2007, Harrah’s has been a strong community presence in the City of Chester and a steady supporter of DCLC. Talented staff members from Harrah’s have served regularly on DCLC’s Board of Directors, and Harrah’s has hosted and sponsored DCLC’s Champions of Adult Literacy fundraising event since 2013. Also, as a major employer in the area, Harrah’s provides job opportunities for adults who are improving their skills and seeking a better life.

“Clearly, Harrah’s is a wonderful community partner with a great track record of positive impact,” said Pat Gunnin, DCLC Executive Director.

The Delaware County Literacy Council helps 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.