The Youth Literacy program at Literacy Together focuses on youths of color, grades K-5. We are aware of the gap in reading between Black and white students in Asheville City Schools and want to be a part of breaking that cycle.
This summer, we launched a reading initiative with Youth Transformed For Life during its eight-week summer camp. Our goal was to hire interns of color to tutor campers in reading three hours a week. The interns took part in two hours of professional development while learning their new skill, along with being paid. Since launching the pilot program this summer, we have continued to work with YTL and are expanding to work with Christine W. Avery Learning Center. This is just the beginning.
Coral Jeffries, the founder of New City Christian School, encouraged me to continue teaching and training in the literacy arena after the closing of New City Christian School. I am thrilled to be a part of Literacy Together. It has allowed me to hopefully continue to be part of a solution to address a growing concern in our community.
Two parts of the story keep me motivated: One is beautiful and uplifting, and the other is melancholy. Seeing and hearing the growth in reading a child is experiencing is exciting and joyful. They want to share that experience with everyone around them. The melancholy part is that the numbers in the gap have plagued our city for years. I realize we must continue to find ways to reach the children and stay on the mission of transforming lives and communities through the power of literacy.
One of the most significant hurdles Literacy Together continues to face is having enough volunteer tutors. We hold ongoing volunteer tutor orientations and trainings all year.
— Tonya Johnson
Youth Literacy program director