Literacy Connections of Wayne County, Inc. was organized exclusively to provide and promote free literacy services to the community in order for all adults in Wayne County, North Carolina to have the literacy skills to succeed at home and in the community. Our programs focus on a one-on-one partnership between an adult literacy student and a committed, consistent, responsible tutor. We value the opportunity for all students to improve their employment situation, be better parents, and become contributing citizens of Wayne County through education.
Organizational Past and Present
All Literacy Connections of Wayne County programs are FREE of charge.
In 2008, a Community Development Committee established as part of the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce’s Education Committee conducted a study and identified adult literacy as a critical need for the advancement of local workforce development in Wayne County. More specifically, there was a lack of services for adults who did not possess the most fundamental literacy skills and who required exceptional academic and life resources in order to acquire those basic literacy skills.
An initial inquiry addressed by the literacy project group was whether to establish the new organization as a 501.c.3 and the decision was made to first build capacity and then to seek 501.c.3 status at a later date.
The committee recommended to house the initial literacy program in the Employment Security Commission Office in Goldsboro and to adopt the curriculum published by Reading Connections as a ‘starter curriculum’. Vested community sectors were identified for representation on the initial Board of Directors. Initial grant funding was received from United Way, and a half-time Executive Director was hired in March 2010. Office space was provided at the Wayne County Public Library and the first agency operations started there under the program title Literacy Connections of Wayne County. Prospective adults were tested and registered at both the Wayne County Public Library and the Employment Security Commission office. The Board of Directors of Literacy Connections of Wayne County participated in various trainings with Reading Connections of Greensboro, Partnership for Children of Wayne County, and Wayne Community College.
A capacity building grant was acquired for the purchase of computer technology to establish an office for the literacy program. Recruitment of volunteer tutors was ongoing, and tutors were matched with available adult literacy students. The County of Wayne became a funding partner in fiscal year ending 2012. AmeriCorps provided a member each year to serve as a dedicated tutor with funding match provided by the City of Goldsboro and Community Development Block Grant. As the literacy program grew, a full-time Executive Director position was created and filled in 2011.
Literacy Connections outgrew the limited space at the library and was moved to a County of Wayne Building located at 2001-D East Ash Street in April 2012. The space consisted of a main laboratory, an administrative office, a staff office and general facilities (parking, reception, restrooms, storage, etc.). Increased efforts were made to seek diversified funding sources. As a result a signature annual fundraiser was created called Reading Between the Wines in 2012 to raise local money to support the program. Several corporate grants have also been received by Literacy Connections.
The County of Wayne funded a second full-time position, Volunteer Coordinator, in fiscal year ending 2013, and in the following year, a part-time Registrar position was added as well. A United Way initiative called Bank on Wayne was funded in support of financial literacy bringing on a part-time position to manage the program. In addition the AmeriCorps positions increased to two. Agency bylaws were established on November 19, 2014, and on March 24, 2015, Literacy Connections of Wayne County, Inc. filed Articles of Incorporation with the Department of the Secretary of the State of North Carolina. A Friends of Literacy letter writing campaign was introduced in the fall of 2015 and offered again in fall of 2016 to build sustainable funding through membership.
A new Executive Director was hired in September 2016, and the Bank on Wayne program manager was promoted to Program Manager to oversee all of the programs offered at Literacy Connections.
As of April 2017, Literacy Connections of Wayne County has served over 1,400 students. Those students were provided with over 33,148 hours of instruction from 443 local volunteers, a value of $764,724 based on the national 2016 volunteer rate of $23.07 per hour.