September is National Literacy Month! Half Price Books has been thrilled to partner with literacy nonprofits throughout the United States for years, and we particularly wanted to highlight these great partners throughout this special month. Be sure to check our social each Tuesday this month for a new post about literacy partners from our different regions. We’ll describe their missions, how COVID-19 has impacted their work and what you can do to help support them. As always, most of our stores will have coin boxes available at the registers for donations, which go directly to our local partners. If you’d prefer to donate straight to the agencies listed below, please just click on the DONATE NOW buttons below and you’ll be directed to their donation pages!
This week, we’re focusing on literacy partners from HPB’s Northeast Region.
Seeds of Literacy
To provide personalized education that empowers adults to succeed in their communities
- Individual, one-to-one tutoring for high school equivalency preparation
- Flexible hours, no set time to graduate, ongoing open enrollment
- Assisting ~ 1,000 adult learners annually
During the COVID-19 outbreak, Seeds had to pivot quickly, transferring our individualized, in-person tutoring to digital, remote tutoring options via teleconference and video conference. For the majority of our students, access to internet and internet-enabled technology still isn’t available. Seeds has gone entirely online, loaning out as many computers as we could, but engagement remains low due to limited access to – and comfort with – technology. The longevity of COVID’s impact has illustrated an ongoing need for remote services, even AFTER our classrooms reopen, which will require additional staffing resources and technology infrastructure.
We are currently working to convert our classrooms to allow for social distancing, build spacers, acquire PPE and have been enacting an ongoing disinfection protocol.
The mission of Literacy Pittsburgh is to create better lives through learning by ensuring that adults and families are able to acquire reading, writing, math, English language, workforce and technology skills so they may reach their fullest potential both personally and professionally.
This learning continues in spite of COVID-19, with fully operational virtual learning. This virtual shift has expanded access for new students and retained current students, engaging the region as a whole while continuing to provide these vital services which ensure that our region’s economic recovery is equitable and that our current and future students are prepared for solid jobs and a bright future.
Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati
The mission of the Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati (LNGC) is to champion the development of literacy in the individual, the family, the workplace, the school and the community by raising awareness, improving access and serving as a catalyst for literacy efforts.
With the arrival of COVID, in-person services were forced to come to a halt and the Literacy Network worked to pivot and serve the needs of our community. Ensuring book access for all is one very important step to decreasing the “COVID/summer slide”. Through our Little Free Libraries program and working with key partners, we have been working to provide age-level reading material to families who have been forced to stay at home given the current health crisis. Since COVID, we have provided over 20,000 books to those in underserved neighborhoods and the need continues.
Project READ builds literacy through collaboration by creating skilled workers, strong families and healthy communities through lifelong literacy.
Literacy Network of Dane County
Literacy Network teaches reading, writing, communication and computer skills to Dane County adults so they can achieve financial security, well-being and deeper engagement with their families and the community.
COVID-19 has been especially hard for Literacy Network students and their families; many are immigrants, low-income and frontline essential workers; many have lost work during this crisis.
Over 200 Literacy Network students continued studying remotely across our programs this summer and many more will register for fall classes. Reading, writing, English language and digital literacy skills are more essential than ever during this pandemic: they are critical for accessing family-sustaining jobs, accurate health information, resources like food and income assistance and other basic needs.
In Fall 2020, we will offer ALL our usual classes and tutoring via remote learning. Students can attend classes over Zoom or telephone. We will continue to mail textbooks & workbooks to students. We will continue to mobilize volunteer tutors in Zoom tutoring sessions.
Literacy Services Wisconsin
Our mission is to partner with motivated adults to provide access to quality basic education and skills training so they can improve their lives, enrich their families and strengthen our community.
Like so many other nonprofits in the community, LSW has been tremendously impacted by COVID-19. Many of our satellite locations, operating in a co-location model, were closed before Wisconsin’s official Safer at Home order, leaving several LSW staff displaced. This created the need to use our central location as a hub from which to run our other seven locations. Once the Safer at Home order was in place, we had to close our central downtown location to staff, volunteers and students as well. Fortunately, we had planned for distance and remote learning prior to the building closure. We have prioritized the safety, health, and well-being of our entire LSW community throughout the pandemic. During COVID-19, 91% of programming continues in alternative formats and we continue to strive to move this needle to 100%!
Early in July we released our phased re-opening plan. LSW is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our learning centers and the students, volunteers and staff that utilize them. Our multi-phased approach is flexible to the ever-changing landscape of this pandemic and it reflects our absolute commitment to safety. Prior to our doors opening we will ensure that our classrooms have adequate disinfectant supplies, face masks, no-touch forehead thermometers, floor markings to ensure proper distancing and Plexiglas partitions and barriers.
Fox Valley Literacy Council
Fox Valley Literacy shares the power of learning to transform lives and enrich the community.
COVID-19 has impacted everyone at Fox Valley Literacy. It disproportionately impacts our students’ well-being and livelihoods and makes it harder for them to work toward their goals; our staff and tutors have had to create new ways of running programs, and our funding has been hit hard. September marks our 30th anniversary and while we’d normally be celebrating together at our Faces of Literacy event we’ll be celebrating virtually on October 15th!
YWCA Northwestern Illinois
YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.
Due to the uncertainty generated by the coronavirus, we have canceled two annual events, creating a significant loss in financial support for the new fiscal year. Unfortunately, our community is also grieving, outraged and horrified by the deaths in Minnesota, Georgia and Kentucky at the hands of police officers. Protests and demonstrations in the community and across the country are rooted in the demand for change and a cry for justice. Our community and clients need us now more than ever as we all try to navigate the threat of the pandemic, its effects on the economy, safety, and stability of the country and race relations stemming from the tragedies.
We hope you learned more about the local literacy efforts of the HPB partners in your region and, in doing so, are moved to help in any way you can given the effects of COVID-19 on their operations. As always, our coinbox donations for the month of September will go directly to these organizations so be on the lookout for them at the registers of your local Half Price Books store. Click here for a complete list of HPB literacy partners across all regions.