What is the Literacy Network of South Berkshire?
We are a nonprofit, community-based organization serving the 15 towns of southern Berkshire County in Western Massachusetts. We provide free, one-on-one tutoring to adults in reading, GED (general education diploma) preparation, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and Citizenship preparation. We are the only year-round, adult literacy program in South County. Our volunteer tutors help adults reach their goals of self-sufficiency, independence and job retention.
Our tutoring is available to anyone in Southern Berkshire age 16 or older and not enrolled in school. We match tutors with students based on mutually convenient times and places as well as compatibility. We currently have 110 student/tutor pairs meeting each week.
Who Are Our Tutors?
Our tutors come from all walks of life. Volunteer tutors are provided with training and ongoing support. Some tutors have backgrounds in education, others do not. There is no need to have any expertise in any language except English. The only requirement is to be interested in helping change lives, one student at a time. Our tutors donate more than 11,520 hours of their time each year.
Who are our Students?
We work with adults who live or work in Southern Berkshire County. Teens 16 and older, and legally out of school, are considered adults. Eighty one percent of our students are learning English as a second language (ESOL), 9% are working toward a GED diploma, and 10% are simply reading to read. Currently our students range in age from 19-62. Some were born in South Berkshire and are trying to improve their basic academic skills in order to get better jobs. Some never learned to read when they were in school. Others dropped out of high school years ago and now are seeking help in preparing for the GED test.
Our students who want to learn to speak and read English come from 31 countries. Some of these students worked in various professions in their home countries, such as dentistry, banking and business. Others had little opportunity for schooling and are now striving for an education in the United States.
The one thing all of our students have in common is a desire to improve their lives. They have turned to LitNet as a source of self-help.