East Central Area Literacy Council Awarded National Grant

May 30, 2018

For the last 30 years, the East Central College Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) Program has provided free adult education classes to the community. It has been possible thanks to the hard work and dedication of volunteers of the East Central Area Literacy Council. In academic year 2018, volunteers provided over 3,500 hours of tutoring.

“Literacy is a problem that very much exists in the East Central College service area,” said Executive Director Alice Whalen. “Franklin County has nearly 12,500 adults who do not have a high school education. Gasconade is close to 2,500, Phelps hovers around 5,300 and Crawford has nearly 5,200 people without a high school diploma or High School Equivalency (HSE) Certificate.”

In addition to students that need to complete their high school education are English language learners who are trying to integrate into the American workplace and learn about American culture. English language learners need assistance with reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Many also need help to prepare for the US Citizenship test.

To help their cause, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation recently awarded the literacy council a $13,000 grant to support adult literacy and training volunteers to work in adult education classrooms. The grant is being facilitated through the East Central Area Literacy Council and is a part of more than $8.3 million in grants awarded to more than 1,000 schools, nonprofits and organizations across the 44 states that Dollar General serves.

“We are honored to fund literacy and education initiatives. We believe these programs can have a positive impact on the communities we serve and we look forward to continuing to partner with organizations dedicated to making a difference in the lives of millions of Americans.” Todd Vasos, Dollar General CEO.

Currently, AEL classes are held in Rolla, Sullivan, Union and Washington during the day. Night classes are held Cuba, Hermann, Owensville, Pacific, Rolla, St. Clair, St. James, Sullivan, Union and Washington. Additional English Language classes are held in Rolla, Wright City and Union.

“Volunteer recruitment and tutor training are key to providing support to students seeking to improve their academic skills,” noted Whalen. “Students who have already faced many challenges can receive the encouragement they need to complete their education with the support of the volunteers.”

AEL is currently recruiting volunteers for the 2018-2019 academic year. There are several upcoming information sessions for interested parties to attend:

  • Rolla: Tuesday, July 17, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. or Thursday, July 19, 5 p.m.-8 p.m.
  • Union: Tuesday, July 24, 9 a.m. -12 p.m. or Thursday, August 9, 5 p.m.-8 p.m.

To register for a volunteer session or get more information about the AEL program, call 636-584-6915 or email ael@eastcentral.edu.


Executive Director, East Central Area Literacy Council Director, East Central College Adult Education and Literacy