Roselle, NJ (May 29, 2014) – Adults in New Jersey who cannot read a medicine bottle, menu or even a street sign are served by the statewide educational non-profit organization, “Literacy New Jersey”, which has announced a merger with six local literacy groups. To make the statewide organization Literacy New Jersey a stronger force in serving functionally illiterate adults throughout the state, the groups Literacy Volunteers of New Jersey, Literacy Volunteers of Mercer County, Literacy Volunteers of Burlington County, Literacy Programs of New Jersey, Literacy Volunteers of Union County, Literacy Volunteers of Ocean County, and Literacy Volunteers of Gloucester County have joined Literacy New Jersey as one network.
Volunteer tutors from Literacy New Jersey make it possible for adults – especially from underserved populations -- to learn to read, write and speak English. Nearly 8,000 students received free services from Literacy New Jersey and their 18 affiliated programs in 2012-2013.
It is estimated that 17% of adults in New Jersey are low literate. Illiteracy is a devastating problem, which is at the root of many social problems, including poverty, crime, unemployment, poor parenting, welfare dependency and homelessness. Adults whose lack of reading, writing and speaking skills causes them to struggle to perform the daily tasks that native English speakers take for granted: reading to their children, ordering from a menu, completing job applications and filling out medical forms.
“Learning to read can make a dramatic difference in someone’s quality of life,” says Elizabeth Gloeggler, CEO, Literacy New Jersey. “We match our well-trained volunteer tutors with men and women who have no where else to turn.”
“We share Literacy New Jersey’s mission to provide meaningful assistance to people with a limited ability to read, speak, write or understand English,“ says Harold J. Wirths, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. “Improved literacy means improved skills that help people to market themselves to employers, to become employed and to carry out their roles, not only as workers, but also as spouses, parents and active members of our community.”
Literacy New Jersey offers free GED Preparation Classes, Citizenship Classes (for new immigrants), and ESL conversation groups (to practice English speaking skills), along with the core Basic Skills and English-as-a-Second Language Programs. The Basic Skills Program helps adult students with learning disabilities or other significant challenges, and serves a population with limited educational options.
More than 2,500 men and women volunteer on a regular basis with Literacy New Jersey. They receive training on principles of adult education, teaching reading, lesson planning, teaching small groups, and motivation skills for tutors. Literacy New Jersey staff match tutors with adult students seeking help, ensuring quality service for the student and support for the volunteer tutor.
The new organization is headed up by Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Gloeggler of Montvale, NJ; Chief Operating Officer Jessica Tomkins of Milltown NJ; Ocean County Executive Director Charlotte Fahey of Whiting, NJ; Gloucester County Executive Director Trudy Lawrence of Clementon, NJ; Burlington County Executive Director Sheri Churchill of Medford, NJ; Mercer County Executive Director Cheryl Kirton of Newtown, PA; and Middlesex County Program Coordinator Melissa Cohen of Highland Park, NJ.
Literacy New Jersey’s merger was supported by: The Community Foundation for NJ, Pro Bono Partnership, Lowenstein Sandler LLP, The SeaChange-Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration, The Karma Foundation and The Support Center for Nonprofits.
About Literacy New Jersey
Founded in 1979 and funded by government grants and donations, Literacy New Jersey is a statewide non-profit network helping adults change their lives through literacy. The organization advocates for and educates about adult literacy, providing resources to adult learners throughout New Jersey. For more information or to volunteer, call 800-848-0048 or visit http://www.literacynj.org/