Fifty-year-old Lillie Chandler, of Williamsport, came to The Learning Center reading at just a fourth-grade level last year. She wanted to improve her reading skills, go to college and begin a career in human services.
The Learning Center, located in the James V. Brown Library and supported by a $26,500 allocation from Lycoming County United Way, serves adults with a wide variety of skills and ambitions. Some are high school graduates preparing to enter college, some are successfully employed facing challenges at their jobs, while others are seeking to enter the workforce or may not have finished high school. In addition, some are parents improving their educational skills to help their children.
"I can read at a college level now," said Lillie proudly. "I know this is due in large part to book club. We read a book per week and practice our vocabulary words. I love discussing the book as a group and hearing all the different opinions. I enjoy the support that we provide each other as we read aloud."
"Currently, The Learning Center provides basic literacy and other instruction in reading, writing and math in a classroom setting or through one-on-one tutoring," said Linda Herr, project director for The Learning Center. "Preparation for passing the GED or other high school equivalency tests is offered as well as English language learning for non-native speakers of the English language."
"Through persistence, support and help from my instructor I have also seen my math abilities improve greatly in addition to my new reading skills. Seeing my math improve has given me such confidence in myself. The loving and caring staff inspires me to reach my goal," added Lillie. "I receive educational guidance from my student adviser and learned how to set goals and prioritize. My life has improved greatly since I began attending The Learning Center."
"Last year, nearly 400 people from all over the county participated in programs offered by The Learning Center," added Herr. "We are here to help any adult who wants to improve their reading, writing and math skills."
Sybil Littlejohn is another enthusiastic student at The Learning Center.
"Two of my favorite programs are Mother Goose and Family Fun Night. During Mother Goose, I get to read to my child and do learning projects with her. Family Fun Night each month gives me a chance to get together with other students and their children to share ideas and encourage each other," Sybil said.
"I have noticed I can read more easily and better understand what I read since I began participating at The Learning Center. Throughout my time in the GED class, I have gotten better at managing my bills and budget because of the math skills I am learning. I have become more self-confident because of the skills I am learning and the staff is just great - they are understanding and friendly.
"They are wonderful people, who give me so much attention and allow me to work at my own pace," she added.
"Investing in the adult learning program at the James V. Brown Library impacts not only the students but the local workforce and economy right here in Lycoming County," said Scott N. Lowery, executive director for the local chapter. "They move adults with deficiencies in reading, writing and/or math into a more productive role as active family members, community members and quality employees. It is a win-win situation for the program participants and the whole community."
For more information on The Learning Center, call 321-0200 or visit lycolearns.org. For more information on Lycoming County United Way, or to support the campaign that funds programs such as these, visit www.lcuw.org.