Community Spotlight: Ozark Foothills Literacy Project
There are many nonprofit organizations throughout the Batesville area. These groups are working hard to improve the community in a number of ways, from meeting the basic needs of low-income families to preserving local historic sites. The “Community Spotlight” showcases the tireless efforts of these groups to bring better, brighter futures to the people of the Batesville community.
Today’s Community Spotlight shines on the Ozark Foothills Literacy Project, located in downtown Batesville at 156 S 3rd Street. This nonprofit organization provides free tutoring for adults from Independence, Sharp, Fulton, and Izard Counties who need to develop their basic English reading, writing, and speaking skills. In those four counties alone, more than 9,000 adults are estimated to read below a third-grade level. Possessing basic literacy skills is something that most of us take for granted—we use them when we fill out job applications, when we take an exam, and when we interact with other members of the community on a daily basis. But there are many in our community who, unknown to us, cannot understand English well enough to do those things.
For younger generations of students whose first language is not English, ESL classes are available in schools to support the development of these skills; but for adults, very few opportunities to learn are available that are both affordable and effective. These are the people who cannot communicate with physicians when they are ill, who struggle to find work, and who must depend on translators or functionally literate family members to assist them with simple, everyday tasks that involve reading and writing English. The Ozark Foothills Literacy Project empowers these individuals by helping them develop these skills so that they might engage with their community without relying on others.
The volunteer tutors who work with this organization must go through a quick orientation before they are paired with a student. This training involves an overview of different learning styles and teaching methods for each, as well as a discussion of how to best interact with students without discouraging or overwhelming them. Anyone who possesses basic English literacy skills can work as a tutor with the organization, regardless of their educational background. Tutoring with this organization is a great way to encourage people to gain confidence, achieve their goals, and to connect with others in the Batesville area.
For more information about the Ozark Foothills Literacy Project, you can contact them at (870) 793-5912 or check out their website at www.oflp.org.