Lawyers for Literacy
The mission of the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County is to promote and achieve literacy thereby improving the quality of life in the Palm Beach community.
The Literacy Coalition, established in 1989 and serving all of Palm Beach County, recruits adult learners and volunteer tutors and refers them to all literacy programs in the county. It provides tutor training, workplace literacy, and children’s literacy programs through child care centers, family care homes, after school programs, and pediatric offices. It coordinates a Literacy AmeriCorps program with 25 members serving 18 sites tutoring adults, youth and children. It coordinates two family literacy programs and provides professional development for teachers and tutors in four counties in South Florida.
|Description of Project:
Attorneys meet about 6 times a year to coordinate their involvement in activities such as these:
--Bar Bee: Attorneys hold a spell-off event to select a team of 3 attorneys who will represent the Bar Association as a team in the Literacy Coalition’s Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee.
--International Literacy Day: Attorneys and judges visit the School District’s Adult Education Center and speak to classes of adult learners on how reading has impacted their career path and work.
--Holiday Book Drive: Attorneys wrap collection boxes that are placed in local law firms. New books are collected during December for children’s literacy programs throughout the county.
--Read Together Palm Beach County: The attorneys gather to hold a book discussion of the book selected for the current Read Together PBC Campaign.
--Adult Learner Essays: Attorneys meet and judge essays written by adult learners each year for the Adult Learner Essay Contest
--Read Across Palm Beach County: Attorneys read to children in classrooms near Dr. Seuss’ birthday (depending on the FCAT schedule) and give books to the classrooms.
--Read for the Record: Attorneys visit child care centers and read books to children as part of the national Read for the Record Campaign sponsored by Jumpstart.--Special Projects: Attorneys raise funds to buy books and materials for classrooms or centers in great need.
Project Rationale and Background:
The Lawyers for Literacy Committee was instituted in 1999, in partnership with the Palm Beach County Bar Association, to provide awareness of literacy needs in the community and to provide avenues of service for local attorneys to address those needs.
A meeting was held with local attorneys serving on the Literacy Coalition board and Palm Beach County Bar Association staff. It was decided to make the Lawyers for Literacy Committee a regular committee of the PBC Bar Association. The group began to hold meetings several times a year to plan activities and projects that support literacy. A staff member of the Literacy Coalition has always been present at the meetings to link literacy needs and opportunities with the activities of the committee. Throughout the past decade, the committee has met regularly and accomplished approximately 8 focal activities each year.Challenges:
No real challenges have been evident. The Lawyers for Literacy Committee has been a tremendously successful project.Evidence of Impact and Effectiveness:
Each year, the attorneys speak to approximately 500 adult learners at the adult education center. They read with approximately 1000 children in classrooms and child care centers.
They donate approximately 600 new children’s books to be distributed to numerous local programs.Their work has definitely raised awareness in the legal community regarding literacy issues. Their work has also gotten tremendous publicity within the legal community, both locally and statewide.
Cost and Funding:
The program costs the Literacy Coalition nothing except staff time to attend the meetings. The Lawyers for Literacy Committee donates at least $1,000 to the Literacy Coalition to support its programs and they also raise additional funds for books and materials to give to classrooms and centers.
The Lawyers for Literacy Committee is a tremendous vehicle for recruiting professional volunteers for local literacy programs and raising awareness about literacy. It is very easy to implement and could be applicable to a variety of professional fields.Additional Resources:
An Implementation Guide for Developing a Lawyers for Literacy Committee
Darlene Kostrub-Chief Executive Officer
Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County
551 SE 8th St., Suite 505
Delray Beach, FL 33483
561-279-9103; fax 561-265-3579
The Florida Literacy Coalition thanks the Florida
Department of Education, Division of Career and Adult Education for making this site possible.
.Florida Literacy Coalition
Florida Literacy Hotline