Student Story: Esther del Castillo Labrador

Student Story: Esther del Castillo Labrador

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Imagine moving to a country where you don’t speak the language.  That’s the situation Esther del Castillo Labrador found herself in when she moved to Northwest Arkansas in 2016.  Although she already spoke Spanish, German, and French, she struggled with her English language skills. “I studied English grammar in school,” she explained, “but I couldn’t speak very well.” And that’s when luck intervened.  Shortly after moving to Fayetteville, Esther opened her front door to find a Spanish language newspaper on her doorstep. “It was good chance,” Esther said, especially since she’d never received a Spanish paper before.  As she started flipping through the pages, she stumbled across an advertisement for Ozark Literacy Council.  “I didn’t know anyone, so no one could tell me about OLC. When I saw the advertisement, I knew I wanted to go to class there.” Because Esther had arrived in the U.S. just a month before,

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OLC receives Excellence in Education Award for 2017

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OLC received the 2017 Literacy Council Excellence in Education Award from Arkansas Literacy Councils in recognition of the leadership and excellence OLC is providing in the community and in literacy. We are grateful to our wonderful community who support us and to our tutors and students for their hard work. Thank you for the recognition ALC! We are truly humbled and honored. Members of OLC pictured at the awards reception at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock on May 19, 2017. Pictured left to right: AmeriCorps member Nathan Riggs, Executive Director Margot Lemaster, Program Director Mina Phebus, AmeriCorps members Hanna Billinski and Casey Kraichoke, Development Director Jim Mitchell, and AmeriCorps member Kelley Zornes.

Student Success Story: Carlos Giraldo

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Carlos Giraldo moved to Northwest Arkansas from Medellin, Colombia 18 years ago. He has been married for 17 years, and while working full time at Rockline Industries, he studied at John Brown University where he earned an undergraduate degree in business and his MBA.  Like many Colombians, Carlos is passionate about “fύtbol” and sports in general. He is also one of the top Racquetball players in the state of Arkansas, and in his spare time, he enjoys reading and spending time with his family.   Life was not easy when Carlos first arrived in the U.S. Fortunately, he has been blessed with a lot of support throughout his time in this country. In particular, he remembers very fondly his time spent at the Ozark Literacy Council in Fayetteville, AR.  His English was limited when he first immigrated to America, and many English as a Second Language classes offered by the

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Do you know an adult who can’t read?

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From ProLiteracy: ProLiteracy commissioned a nationwide survey this summer to gather further insight on public awareness of adult literacy. This was the second survey ProLiteracy commissioned; the first one was in summer of 2015. The survey was conducted by a market research company and included 1,000 participants. The data revealed some noteworthy results, including that despite a slight increase in awareness, we still have more work to do: Overall awareness of the adult literacy issue in the United States rose slightly from 59% in 2015 to 63% in 2016. Seventy percent of respondents said they do not personally know someone who can’t read. With 1 in 6 adults in the U.S. struggling with low literacy, most people probably do know an adult who can’t read. Eighty-three percent of respondents are not aware of adult literacy organizations in their communities. Learn more about their findings and download an infographic from their

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David Johnson named 2016 Barbara Broyles Champion for Literacy

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Join us October 20 to honor David Johnson, Fayetteville Public Library Executive Director, as he receives the 2016 Barbara Broyles Champion for Literacy Award presented by Betsy Broyles Arnold, Executive Director of The Broyles Foundation. For tickets visit maskaread.bpt.me. Fayetteville Public Library Executive Director and University of Arkansas graduate, David Johnson has been a Fayetteville community member for over 20 years.  His wife Holly is the Director of Development, Grants, & Community Relations with the Fayetteville Public Schools.  His daughter Cecelia is a freshman at the University of Missouri, and his son Russ is a junior at Fayetteville High School.  Johnson, who received his Masters of Library Science degree from the University of Tennessee, returned to the Fayetteville Public Library after fifteen years with Tyson Foods where he held various leadership positions in Information Systems, Sales and Marketing, and Research and Development.  Along with the wonderful staff at the library, Johnson shares the

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New Volunteer Spotlight: Sumedha “Su” Singh

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  My name is Sumedha Singh. Basically, I am from India and used to work in India but after getting married, I came to Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA in 2014. I have been seeking a volunteer work for society welfare for a while. Then one of my friends told me about Ozark Literacy Council (OLC) where I can work as a volunteer and enhance my knowledge about English, American civic literacy and many more. Before coming to this place I was bit nervous but after meeting the people at OLC, I felt that the people working at OLC are very friendly, soft spoken, and supportive, who make me as confident as a tutor for English as Secondary Language (ESL). After attending a tutor training workshop, I felt that it can be a great platform to improve my teaching skills. Therefore, It’s a great place to work and make friends, know the people from different part

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Fayetteville Community Police Visit OLC

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Our health and sense of well-being is affected by how safe we feel. Learning the life skills in staying safe and knowing who you can count on is important — whether you’re a newcomer or an old timer to American living.  In OLC’s health literacy/life skills class, students met with Corporal Brashears and Sargent Stout from the Fayetteville Police Department and learned practical ways in staying safe and who to contact if their sense of security is threatened. Students learned important procedures on what to do if they are pulled over while driving, their rights as victims of crime and how to seek support, and the different levels of law enforcement from local up to state.  As members of a larger Washington County community, OLC and its students, Sargent Stout and Corporal Brashears are looking forward to keeping connected and raising awareness about the cultural diversity and resources Washington County

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OLC Health Literacy Class Meet with EMS

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OLC students were treated to a visit from the Central EMS (Emergency Medical Services) of Washington County. Craig Harvey and  Zedok Crabbe are a Paramedic Team who serve all people living in Washington County and need emergency medical help. Craig and Z explained what to do in case of an emergency, and how the emergency services coordinate with other services including police and fire departments. Students also learned what training is needed to become a paramedic should they be interested in this profession. Craig and Z invited students outside to demonstrate their ambulance equipment. OLC will be coordinating with the EMS on delivering free Friends and Family CPR to interested students. – Julia Kilbourne This event was organized by Julia Kilbourne, OLC AmeriCorps Member, for her Health Literacy Class.

Ozark Literacy Council is hiring a part time administrative assistant

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Job Posting: Administrative Assistant Reports to: Program Director Specific Responsibilities: Support and uphold the mission of Ozark Literacy Council General administrative tasks include answering and directing phone calls and emails, processing mail, and maintaining physical order of the office Daily face to face, telephone, and email communication with adult learners and volunteer tutors Data entry in state database Assist in generating reports Provide support to instructors, tutors, and OLC staff members Assist in execution of OLC special events Maintain confidentiality of OLC’s clientele Additional duties as assigned by the Program Director and Executive Director Required qualifications: Must have strong written and oral communication skills in English Must have ability to work in flexible environment while maintaining a friendly and welcoming atmosphere Must be proficient in basic Microsoft Office software Must be highly organized and excellent at multi-tasking in a fast paced atmosphere High School Diploma or equivalent Preferred Qualifications: Fluency

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AmeriCorps Service position available with Ozark Literacy Council

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Do you want to make a difference in Washington County and receive money for you or your child or grandchild to go to college or pay back student loans? AmeriCorps is offering a service position with Ozark Literacy Council to help adults improve their English literacy skills Perks: A full year of service to your community Teaching experience Bi-Monthly stipend Education Award A living allowance of $6442 per year paid twice-a-month, and a $2887.50 education award upon successful completion of 900 hours of service are offered through the program. Individuals 55 and older can pass on their education award, which can be used to pay for college and books, to pay back student loans, and for qualified continuing education, to a child or grandchild. Give Ozark Literacy Council and AmeriCorps your time, and make a difference in people’s lives! Visit us at 2596 Keystone Crossing Fayetteville, AR 72703 Or email

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