(Special thanks to Becky Raymond, Executive Director of CLCC, for her time and input)
Literacy is the most critical skill needed to navigate our ever-increasingly complicated civic, professional, and technological landscape. With many Chicago residents seeking formal assistance, the Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition (or CCLC) works with Adult Education organizations in Chicago to secure resources and training so that underserved adult learners can become economically successful. My recent conversation with Becky Raymond of the CCLC demonstrated that the organizations consider adult literacy and adult education to be critical public policy issues (which parallel's this blog's stated belief that digital excellence is a basic human right). Plus, the CCLC is not only receiving recognition for its efforts...but is starting to get rewarded for the results of those efforts.
On Thursday, March 28th at 5:30 pm, you can witness some of those results for yourself at their Beyond Books ceremony at Newberry Library...but I'm getting a little ahead of myself.
The Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition started as a grassroots effort by a variety of community-based practitioners looking for a means to socialize, collaborate, and build upon their efforts to find resources. As the Coalition grew organically, the CCLC scanned various adult literacy and education organizations to determine overlapping needs. Seeing itself as the "mortar" between the bricks of various adult literacy programs, the CCLC determined where they could make the greatest impact.
Technology was that critical area for the CCLC, focusing on both digital literacy (The Coalition also focuses on developing workforce skills through its Career Pathways initiative, and also works on healthcare literacy). Focusing on helping adult learners use computers (and increasingly, mobile devices) and using technology to help learners build basic skills, the Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition uses a blended model of community-based centers using technology. Although the CCLC does use apps to assist learners in developing their skills, providing a social/interactive environment not only allows those users to thrive but provides them with the support and motivation to stay on track.
One key event happening this Thursday, March 28th at 5:30 pm emphasizes the importance of the Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition's mission. Their 4th annual Beyond Books celebration highlights the efforts of people working in the community around adult literacy and education. They will be honoring Doctor Julie Morita, Commissioner of Chicago Department of Public Health, as their Literacy Leader Award winner for her efforts around literacy and health care.
Literacy is more than just a necessary skill - it's an essential skill. The Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition provides support for a variety of adult literacy and education efforts throughout the city. Thursday night's event provides a concrete example of why literacy is a critical issue in Chicago...and why the Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition is a neighbor worth knowing.
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And as always, thanks for reading!