Our History

In 1964, the Fayetteville Company of Compassion (later to be called the Ozark Literacy Council) was established by Lela Tisdale after learning about adult literacy programs while traveling in Palestine. During her travels she met Jamil Shami, trained in the Laubach adult literacy method, who later came to Fayetteville and conducted the first tutor trainings.

The organization developed and grew over the years while countless volunteers devoted themselves to providing literacy and languages services to those in need. OLC’s efforts helped launch numerous literacy providers in the area and today it is recognized as the oldest and largest literacy council in the state of Arkansas.

Thanks to a generous donation by the Baum Family in 2000, OLC built its own home building at 2596 Keystone Crossing as the center of its operations, where it is located to this day.

OLC provides four levels of one-on-one tutoring and classes in Adult Basic Literacy and English as a Second Language (Basic, Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced) that include curriculum in language, civic, financial, health, and workforce literacy.

Last year OLC served 530 adults and helped many of them reach their goals such as getting a better job, achieving financial security for their family, helping their children with their homework, increasing community involvement, and obtaining U.S. citizenship. Last year OLC had 140 volunteer tutors who offered their time to give students a chance to learn and improve reading, spelling, grammar, writing, pronunciation, and conversational English skills.

OLC serves numerous individuals from 54 countries all around the world, including such countries as China, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, Nepal, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Ecuador, El Salvador, Brazil, Columbia, Argentina, Cameroon, Gabon, and Eritria.