Illiteracy is a major indicator of poverty and poor health, yet approximately 12 percent of adults in the Centre and Clearfield counties are considered functionally illiterate.
The Mid-State Literacy Council, a Centre County United Way partner, offers classes and individual tutoring in literacy skills to English language learners and local residents with low reading levels.
With help from trained volunteer tutors, students have learned to read, earned their GEDs, received promotions at work, and achieved successes that would have been nearly impossible without the support of MSLC.
Farheen Ashrafy emigrated to the U.S. with her family from Bangladesh when she was 13-years-old. Once the Ashrafy family moved to State College so that Farheen could attend Penn State, MSLC helped the family obtain citizenship and supported Farheen’s father during his employment search. Farheen is currently a senior at Penn State, and is expecting to graduate next spring with two bachelor’s degrees.
She volunteers at MSLC weekly, and is teaching other English learners the skills that she needed in order to succeed.
MSLC relies entirely on community generosity to continue offering the services that helped the Ashrafy family so much. More than 200 tutors volunteer their time every week to teach math, reading, health literacy skills and conversational English skills, a process that can take years to complete and requires approximately $100 per student for materials alone. Since MSLC receives no government funding, financial support must come from community members and organizations, like CCUW.
By providing support to local nonprofits like MSLC, CCUW helps Centre County residents in untold ways. Through MSLC alone, more residents are able to learn skills necessary to enter the job market, help their children with homework, and contribute to their communities. CCUW partners with over 30 other agencies, all working to provide support to Centre County’s most vulnerable.