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Literacy Volunteers Program Grows With New Space At Stratford Library

Literacy Volunteers Executive Director Tami Jackson, second from left, shares a laugh with Mayor John Harkins at the grand opening of the Literacy Volunteers satellite office at Stratford Public Library.
Literacy Volunteers Executive Director Tami Jackson, second from left, shares a laugh with Mayor John Harkins at the grand opening of the Literacy Volunteers satellite office at Stratford Public Library. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

STRATFORD, Conn. — Literacy Volunteers of Southern Connecticut officially opened a satellite office Wednesday at Stratford Public Library, offering a range of free, individualized tutoring to a growing population of adults and children.

Based in Milford, the group serves people in several communities. Opening the Stratford location will give those seeking to build skills a convenient alternative, said Tami Jackson, executive director.

“We won’t turn anyone away,” she said.

The agency has already held a training class for tutors and plans to offer another class this fall.

LVSC focuses on one-on-one tutoring because those seeking its services come for a variety of reasons. Some need basic conversation skills, others are studying for a GED or are in citizenship preparation.

“Do you need to get your driver’s license? That’s important,” Jackson said. “But some just need to focus on idiom or slang.”

Stratford is a diverse community with 44 languages spoken by residents, Jackson said. According to the 2012-13 Strategic School Profile, about 300 Stratford school students are not fluent in English, she said.

About 17 percent, or 8,500 residents, do not have a high school diploma, according to Jackson.

“A lot of people don’t realize it’s that diverse,” she said.

Library Director Sheri Szymanski said she was thrilled to have Literacy Volunteers call the library home.

“It also benefits the library,” said Szymanski, who has noticed more foot traffic since classes have begun.

The Bridgeport Regional Business Council’s Leadership Greater Bridgeport program helped make the satellite office a reality. The group’s members pick projects throughout the area and assist as part of their training and several members chose to work with Literacy Volunteers and the library.

Stratford Rotary and Mayor John Harkins' Golf Tournament each provided funding to help get the effort off the ground.

“It’s hard to say no to literacy,” Harkins said at the grand opening.

For more information on Literacy Volunteers’ classes and programs, visit the website .

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