Literacy Council Seeks Support After Phelps County United Way Closes

There are at least two things that can make a world of difference in how every life evolves and the joy and satisfaction that an individual may have as they grow old. They are basic yet encompass so many different elements, and these are key to long-term success:

If you are reading  and thinking about how well things have gone for you over the years, even with every high and low, then you probably have also received these gifts. I know I have taken these gifts for granted over the years, but as I work with and learn more about students like Jesse, I realize how very valuable these gifts are.


In 2015, Jesse began classes in the East Central College Adult Education program. He came to class and met with his instructor Kathy; “With tears welling in his eyes, he told me he was here to learn to read and write so people wouldn’t ever call him stupid anymore”.  Kathy paired Jesse with Karen, a volunteer from East Central Area Literacy Council.

Jesse has such a love for learning and has continued to attend classes to improve all of his academic skills.  He now reads at a high school level and is able to write a short essay. His math skills are improving, too! Since learning how to read, Jesse has been able to pass a written test and get his driver’s license. He has a job that he enjoys and can help his family in ways he never could before.  Jesse also plans to take and pass the high school equivalency test. His life is changed for the better!

Recently, the Phelps County United Way discontinued operations, and the funding for the literacy council and volunteers ended. The volunteers of the East Central Area Literacy Council need your support to continue to give compassionately, another word for love, and teach literacy skills to students. You can help give students like Jesse “Hope”.

The Literacy Council supports volunteers and students in the East Central College Adult Education program with locations in Sullivan, Hermann, Union, Washington, Rolla, St. Clair, St. James, Pacific, Cuba, Montgomery City and Wright City. As an all-volunteer organization, the need is not huge, yet so very important. More than 60 volunteers give nearly 4,000 hours per year in the classroom and through service on the board of directors. Professional development workshops for volunteers, curriculum and, most importantly, background checks are critical program costs to be covered.

Perhaps you have thought about volunteering but could never find the time. Maybe now is the time to volunteer and you’d like to find out more about serving on the board of directors or as a tutor. You can send an email to our Volunteer Coordinator, Pam Kaiser, to find out about upcoming volunteer training opportunities at

Today, appreciate the gifts of love, literacy and hope that you have received. Maybe you could give something to help another experience “Hope” in a way they never have before.

Please, consider making a donation to the East Central Area Literacy Council this year. You could change a life. You can donate online at

Thank you for the gift of “Hope”.

Alice Whalen
Executive Director


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