Rose Bellanca and Rochelle Riley Named Chairs for Washtenaw Literacy’s “World in a Basket” Gala
ANN ARBOR, Mich., Sept. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Washtenaw Literacy has named literacy advocates Dr. Rose Bellanca, president of Washtenaw Community College, and Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley as honorary chairs of its annual fundraiser “World in a Basket.” The event is a key source of funding for the group’s extraordinarily effective work in teaching illiterate adults to read and write. The gala evening of live and silent auctions plus strolling dinner raises 20% of the group’s annual budget. This year’s event – to be held October 14 at the Morris Lawrence Building at Washtenaw Community College – is especially important because it will raise funds for Washtenaw Literacy’s new Pathways programming, an intensive intervention program for young adults.
“Rose and Rochelle are active, vocal advocates for the desperate need for literacy outreach in Michigan and we’re delighted to have their leadership for World in a Basket,” said Amy Goodman, executive director of Washtenaw Literacy. “Washtenaw Literacy is working harder than ever to fill service gaps that result from cuts to adult education funding. Ensuring that all our citizens have the skills they need to be employable and able contribute to our economy now means we must provide concentrated, targeted services. As a result, the traditional tutoring programming that people think of when they hear ‘literacy council’ is only a part of what we do.”
Pathways programming is one of the responses to the changing funding structures at the local, state and federal levels. Aimed at 16 to 24 year olds, Pathways is an intensive, five- or ten-week intervention to support high school or GED completion, drop-out prevention, or successful entrance to post-secondary training. The program includes 1:1 tutoring twice a week for two hours over the course of five weeks. Successful progress keeps the student on the same path for another five weeks. However, if progress is only incremental, the participant shifts to traditional tutoring for long-term support.
Over the course of two years, Washtenaw Literacy has collected data that shows startling success. For example, at the outset of Winter Semester 2011, the average Pathways participant was reading at the fourth grade level. In just ten weeks of tutoring, participants gained, on average, nearly five grades, checking in at an average reading level of 8.9.
“These are the kinds of programs that make a real difference in people’s lives and in our communities,” said Ms. Goodman. “That’s what World in a Basket supports: initiatives that have tested, positive outcomes. That’s why Rose and Rochelle are lending their time and energy. Anyone who wants to help them, can simply join us for a wonderful evening.”
About World in a Basket
World in a Basket is an annual fundraiser supporting the work of Washtenaw Literacy. This year’s event is on October 14, at 5:00, in Washtenaw Community College’s Morris Lawrence Building. The evening includes drinks, strolling supper, and auctions of hundreds of gift baskets. Tickets are $75 if purchased by October 1 – a $10 discount off the regular $85 price. All tickets include beer, wine and strolling supper. Proceeds go directly to Washtenaw Literacy. For ticket information, call (734) 879-1320 or email Washtenaw Literacy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Washtenaw Literacy
Washtenaw Literacy (www.washtenawliteracy.org) is a volunteer-based organization providing free literacy instruction customized to the needs of adults throughout Washtenaw County. Volunteers provide individual and group tutoring in reading and writing skills and in English as a second language so adults can improve their personal, family, and community lives.
SOURCE Washtenaw Literacy