People reading below the 4th grade level are at an extreme disadvantage. They cannot fill out employment applications and cannot read or write well enough in today’s challenging job market to qualify for more than the most menial, low-paying jobs.
Research indicates 10% of Lexington County’s population and 12% of Richland County’s are in this fix. That’s more than 66,000 peoplle — more than 1 in 10 of us. This places a huge burden on 66,000 people, their families and the rest of us.
Many of them are permanent wards of the state. Our taxes keep them alive. This deprives us of capable employees who work, support their families and contribute taxes to pay for the services local, state and federal agencies provide.
Turning Pages’ mission is to teach these unfortunates to read and write so that they can qualify for better jobs and join the rest of us as responsible citizens in caring for our families.
Our small team of volunteer tutors, even smaller volunteer board of trustees and tiny administrative staff tackle the formidable task of teaching people to read, write and other needed life skills.
We clearly need your support. Here are nine ways you can help:
1. Volunteer to tutor adults. We will teach you to use your own skills and the Laubach method as a tutor at our learning center in Columbia near Richland Mall and in available space in libraries and other places of public accommodation in Lexington and Richland counties.
2. Persuade illiterate adults to learn to read. Many of them are ashamed of this and strive daily to hide it. But their families usuually know the truth. If you know someone who needs our help, please encourage them to contact us.
3. Donate to Turning Pages. A fully tax deductible gift of as little as $100 will pay for the materials a learner needs to learn to read and write. You can easily make a donation with your credit card at our web site.
4. Invite us to give a program for your group. We speak to many church, civic and community groups about the needs of illiterate adults. You will find it a moving and informative program that will interest and excite your members and spur a few of them to become involved in this worthy cause.
5. Attend our fundraisers. Our next fundraiser, “Reading Between the Wines,” is a 5-course gourmet wine dinner at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 6, at Main Street Cafe in Lexington. Advance reservations at $100 a couple are required.
6. Hold a yard sale fundraiser. Invite your friends and neighbors to clean out all that stuff cluttering their attics, basements and garages and sell them at a central location. Let shoppers know that their dollars are going to our Turning Pages literacy movement.
7. Start a collection jar. Put a small sign on it letting people know you’re collecting for literacy. Put it on your counter, your desk or in your break room at work. Suggest people donate their loose change.
8. Hold a bake sale and/or raffle. At your next event, invite your members to donate home-made items such as breads, cakes, jams, jellies and pies to raise money. Also ask them to donate no longer wanted items to a raffle and sell tickets.
9. Write a letter to the editor. Let the readers of your local community newspaper know about the pressing need to help those who cannot read. If you need facts for such a letter, you will find them on our fact page here, or give us a call at 782-1210.
Thank your for your encouragement and support.