Groups work to improve literacy at Hub for Community Innovation

Published: Apr. 29, 2022 at 11:33 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Hub for Community Innovation is set to open on June 27, and several different non-profits will be teaming up to help with health care access, food insecurity, and literacy.

Leaders with the Augusta University Literacy Center say literacy rates have been stagnant, but learning gaps among people of color and those in poverty have grown during the pandemic.

They are hopeful a move to the Hub will help them overcome those challenges.

“Our goal is not to just increase learning but accelerate learning. We can make a dent in those gaps,” said Betsey Vandeusen, director, AU Literacy Center.

Only 30 percent of students the AU Literacy Center serves are reading proficiently or better.

“That means 70 percent of our students are not reading well enough by the end of third or fourth grade, and we know that’s a pivotal time for them to be able to hone their skills,” she said.

The key to helping with literacy is a collaboration with other organizations within the hub, like the Boys and Girls Club.

Jeremy McCoy, director of club experience, Boys and Girls Club, said: “I feel like with this collaborative, we can each take our strengths, put them together to build a bright future for the kids.”

The service extends beyond just the children in a family.

Felina Martin, director, Hub for Community Innovation said: “We are also instilling and empowering parents so they can learn either to read or financial literacy so that the entire family is successful.”

One way they’re focusing on long-term success is career preparedness.

McCoy said: “Our main programs are going to be really working with folks on teen workforce and college readiness.”

Both organizations say the pandemic had an impact on literacy, and they’re hopeful expanding staffing and programs will help. All of those services will be free.

Vandeusen said: “We know that adults um want to improve their skills, they have goals for job-related opportunities to help their students.”

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