Literacy council moves to new quarters

Friday, April 15, 2011
Ready to welcome the public to the Carroll County Literacy Council's new location in Berryville, situated at the corner of Caddie Street and East Church Avenue, were Sharon Sloan, Dale Hunter and Paula Sell who will be hosting a "Friend-raiser" and open house on May 14. Anna Mathews / CCN

BERRYVILLE -- A "Friend-raiser" is planned at the Carroll County Literacy Council where the tradition continues with its free one-on-one tutoring.

Hundreds have taken advantage of the tutoring services over the years -- some seeking citizenship, many learning English, and others sharpening their GED test-taking skills.

All of this is accomplished with a limited budget and a team of dedicated volunteers who consider student success their reward.

Now those volunteers are headquartered at a new location -- in the old Berryville Telephone Company Annex building that is owned by The First Christian Church of Berryville.

"We had the opportunity to move to this space, it's more cost-effective, more welcoming, it's a better location, and a better learning environment," said Paula Sell, a volunteer who sits on the CCLC board of directors.

Sell, described as the driving force behind the council's volunteer recruitment efforts, has been involved with the nonprofit the last four years.

"I am the volunteer round-up gal," she confirmed. "We have wonderful volunteers and I want to thank every one of them."

One of those volunteers is Sharon Sloan, who discovered the literacy council while attending a Berryville garden show three years ago.

"It was my first year that I had retired from teaching," she recalled.

"I was with a friend when I passed the literacy council booth and I stopped and chatted with Paula. I've been volunteering every Wednesday afternoon ever since!" she added.

Dale Hunter is another volunteer who happens to be president of the board.

"I moved here from Tulsa," she said, "where I wanted to be a tutor but they never called me. When I moved here I met some people at a library book sale and learned about this.

"My intent," she explained," it to help people get an education. That's the best way to improve their lives."

One way to accomplish that goal is to spread the word about the services offered and the volunteer opportunities that are available.

"The Friend-raiser," Hunter said, "is to see if you want to be an advocate for literacy -- or if you know of someone with a need."

Volunteers are needed for tutoring various hours of the day in Berryville, Eureka Springs and Green Forest, and they are provided with the tools they need to get the job done.

"I got thrown into ESL but I don't know any Spanish," Hunter laughed. "It's interesting because I had Muslims and Vietnamese learning English as a second language."

Volunteers are also needed for administrative duties, such as website content management.

"We hope to go beyond traditional," Hunter said, "and we welcome volunteers who bring creativity and skills."

Those interested in learning more can attend the "Friend-raiser" slated for Saturday, May 14, from 1-3 p.m. when a drop-in open house is also planned at the center's new site, situated at the corner of Caddie Street and East Church Avenue in Berryville.

Refreshments will be served and all the board members will be on hand to answer questions.

"We invite the community to come and see what we have," Hunter said.

The Carroll County Literacy Council, she said, operates with funds provided by the Arkansas Literacy Council and some grant money it receives from the Carroll County Community Foundation, Dollar General, Walmart and the Arkansas Library Fund.

For more information, call (870) 505-1556.

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