July 15, 2010

We are LCCT. We Reach, Teach and Unite.

Welcome to the REACH, TEACH, UNITE blog! Thanks for checking us out! Here at the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas we are excited (and also pretty nervous) to start this new blog. "What are we going to write about?" "Who is going to follow us?" "Why are a people going to follow us?" These are some of the questions that were floating around our office once we decided to do this. Well, here we are. And to start, I want to tell you a little bit about why we exist. Based in Austin, TX and serving the 5-county Central Texas region where 1 in 5 native-English speaking community members cannot read or write well enough to fill out a job application, the LCCT is working to create a 100% literate community. Here's how we're doing it:

We REACH out to people in our community with resources. We raise their awareness and involvement in addressing area literacy needs by compelling them to action and connecting them with opportunities to give. This includes community members looking to make philanthropic investments, policy makers and elected officials, and those with time/talents to volunteer.

We REACH out to those families in the Austin area who struggle with limited literacy. Our toll-free Literacy Referral Line connects people with local programs to address their needs and them further their lives. We continually conduct outreach to low-literate populations in our community to help them understand and enroll in the services available to them.

We REACH low-literate families currently receiving services, connecting them with a wide array of community resources. The Literacy Service Provider Directory and the Central Texas Healthcare Referral Guide connect families with needed literacy, healthcare and other services.

We REACH legislators in the State of Texas through Literacy Day at the Capitol to support statewide public investment in adult education and other family literacy programs.

We TEACH literacy instructors using high-quality, evidence-based training in English as a second language instruction and health literacy. We provide trainings, classroom resources and opportunities for peer consultation to improve the quality and quantity of services available in Central Texas.

We TEACH community stakeholders about changing literacy conditions and community needs by conducting community presentations, participating in community planning efforts, and conducting public awareness campaigns and trainings in health literacy.

We TEACH students in adult literacy programs how to engage in the civic process through their participation in Literacy Day at the Capitol, a state-wide advocacy event.

We UNITE literacy programs with the broader network of community service provision, to build a seamless system of literacy services for learners at various levels and for various populations.

We UNITE literacy programs with each other to spark collaboration, shared learning, shared resources, and client referrals at our quarterly Provider Network Luncheons.
Now that you know a little about the work that we do, I want to introduce you to the soon-to-be stars of the blog world. LCCT staff, the self-proclaimed "Champions of Literacy" - semi-jokingly, I might add - include,

Meg Poag, Executive Director - Meg's blog topics will revolve around coalition building, leadership, community engagement, board relations, literacy issues and new research.

Nichole Lopez-Riley, Program Manager - Nichole will cover employee management, program oversight, earned-income ventures, ESL and ABE instruction and resources, and literacy policy changes.

Carly Bradshaw, Development and Communications Officer - Carly's blogs posts will include fundraising strategies, grant writing, event planning and donor relations.
Jen Freeman, Volunteer Coordinator - Jen plans to blog about volunteerism, volunteer management, public advocacy, personal accounts of literacy volunteers, and grant writing techniques (Jen is the queen of writing and editing!).

Shannon Mann, Contract Program Officer - Shannon's posts will cover Spelling Bee fundraising events and the Central Texas Volunteer Summit

Hannah Giles, Development Coordinator - Hannah is starting with the LCCT in August, 2010 in a newly designed position to assist us with fund development. She will blog about fund development and donor relations.

Peter Morrison, Health Literacy Specialist - Peter (that's me!) will be writing about health literacy; issues associate with HL, research, policy updates, workshop results, individuals' stories, health outreach events, and new health literacy resources for literacy instructors, patients and healthcare providers.
Sounds pretty sweet, right!?! Right. Come back to visit us, leave comments, shoot us emails and call us. We'll be here, hanging out and promoting literacy in the hills of Central Texas.


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