KTHV reports on the likely closure of Literacy Action of Central Arkansas in January because of the nonprofit’s loss of state funding.
The organization has served 150 people with 150 volunteer tutors (not 350 served as I originally wrote). A client of Literacy Action was featured in the Times‘ philanthropy issue Dec. 4.
I’m not conversant with the decisions that left this small program among the spending cuts. But it is a reminder that belt-tightening — often done in the name of efficiency, waste-trimming and the like — sometimes simply means a program that served real people was small enough to axe without undue public reaction.
From 11’s report:
Sara Drew, the lead coordinator of the non-profit says it’s hard to get people to care about the issue. “Adult literacy is not a problem that people see as important as hunger and poverty and environmental degradation,” said Drew.
Drew teaches adults how to read through a program once funded by a department of education grant. “There would be nowhere for the adults who don’t know how to read to go,” said Drew.
She says there’s a specific age group that uses her services.
“It’s the people that got by and now are older and can’t continue to physically work in the labor force.”
They hope to raise some money to carry on. It’s a free service. It helps not only older people but the children of older people. When parents can read, children can read.
UPDATE: Sara Drew, who’s leading the program, further explains to me that while the Education Department has been a major funder, it has received support from others. She said the Department grant process became too cumbersome for a small agency to compete for and so didn’t reapply. Those interested in donating can check the group’s website.