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Transforming Lives

Literacy Green Bay provides tools for success

By Josephine Hinderman

Contributing Writer

GREEN BAY – A local program is working to transform lives by advocating for adult literacy and providing local volunteer opportunities.

Literacy Green Bay
Literacy Green Bay tutor, Jim Crawford, at left, reads with student, Jose Alvarado.. Josephine Hinderman photo

Literacy Green Bay offers a wide assortment of tutoring services that aim to help adults and families in improving their English, math, writing, computer, and workforce skills, as well as offering a GED program; they are currently offering ELL and Family Literacy classes, and One-on-One Adult Tutoring.

The organization’s mission is to provide these services to ensure that people have the skills required to be an effective workforce employee and community member.

“I say that what we do transforms lives,” Executive Director Robyn Hallet said. “This isn’t just a handout, we want to teach people ‘to fish’, so to speak; literacy must be learned and earned, and the people that come here are internally motivated.”

The first classes at Literacy Green Bay opened in 1980 to teach community members how to become tutors, which was followed by the realization of the growing need within the community for classes to improve literacy and English skills; an influx of Latinos in the 1990s led to the expansion of more tutoring services and classes to keep up with the demand.

Within the past year Literacy Green Bay has been the recipient of two major grants, which they are utilizing to expand their services, upgrading from eight to 20 classrooms, which are already at full capacity, and the classes that they offer.

They will also seek tutors of BIPOC identities to empower local minority communities and expand their reach

“A majority of our students are individuals of BIPOC background, and most of them – approximately 97 percent – are low income,” Hallet said. “We as a society need to change that.”

Hallet and Literacy Green Bay Community Engagement Coordinator Heather Hansen described the importance of grants, fundraisers, donations and, especially, events for their organization, stating about 19 percent of their budget comes from events alone.

One of the most significant fundraising events of the year for Literacy Green Bay is the Scrabble Bee event, a night of food, cash bars, raffles, and unique games of Scrabble held at the Swan Club in De Pere.

“This is an event that’s open to anyone that wants to become involved, or if you want to support and advocate for adult literacy,” Hansen said.

This year will be the 21st year of the Scrabble Bee, which will be held Feb. 9 from 5:30-9 p.m.

Family Literacy Classes

Literacy Green Bay offers a one-of-a-kind comprehensive family literacy program, and it’s the only kind of program in the area that has goals of educating the whole family.

The Children First Family Program is a GED program hosted in collaboration with NWTC and the Howe Community Resource Center, and is an opportunity for parents to learn alongside their children to enhance their literacy skills.

This program offers many opportunities for PACT – Parent and Child Time – where parents and children are able to work alongside one another in an effort to attain an education; another goal of this program is to emphasize to parents how significant of a role they have in their childrens’ education.

The spring 2023 session will begin starting Jan. 18 and run through May 15.

For more information, contact Kelly Severson, the Family Literacy Program Manager, at (920) 435-2474, Ext. 108, or email [email protected].

Literacy Green Bay
Literacy Green Bay Community Engagement Coordinator Heather Hansen , at left, poses in front of a map showing where their students are from with executive director, Robyn Hallet. Josephine Hinderman photo

Adult tutoring services

Adult tutoring services at Literacy Green Bay are more specialized, offering one-on-one tutoring sessions for adults seeking to improve writing, reading, math and English comprehension skills.

To register, you must be at least 18 years of age, and will be required to take a curriculum placement test.

To get in touch with a tutor and schedule a time to take an assessment test, call (920) 435-2474, Ext. 102, or email [email protected].

ELL Classes

There are three levels of English Language Learner classes (ELL) classes offered twice a week, both in the mornings and evenings (with childcare services available, if necessary), for intermediate and beginner English learners.

To figure out which English class is best suited for you, you will be required to take a speaking and writing test at registration.

Currently, most English classes are full. New registration will be placed on a waiting list.

To register, call (920) 435-2474 ext. 106, visit the location at South Monroe Ave in Green Bay, or email David Nohara at [email protected].

For more information about Literacy Green Bay programs and events, call (920) 435-2474, email [email protected], or visit www.literacygreenbay.org.

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