This article was published in the Observer-Reporter
The Washington County Community Foundation (WCCF) recently donated 35 gently used computer tablets to the literacy council of Southwestern Pennsylvania, knowing that students in the literacy council’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program would be better served with the technology.
The tablets were delivered by members of the WCCF’s Allocations and Programs Committee during a recent site visit to the literacy council’s Washington location in Fairhill Manor Church.
The literacy council has been operating since 1985; however, it has experienced explosive growth in recent years with a significant influx of immigrants into its service area that includes Washington, Greene, Fayette and Westmoreland counties. The majority of the immigrants are from Haiti, China, Afghanistan, and Ukraine, and many were accomplished professionals in their home countries. In order for them to resume their professional careers in the United States, they must first learn to speak English.
At the start of the pandemic in 2020, the WCCF awarded a $20,000 grant to the literacy council from the Close to Home Disaster and Emergency Fund, to initiate a remote ESL Program. The grant enabled the council to purchase computer tablets for students so that their learning could continue remotely.
In addition to its ESL program, the literacy council provides Citizenship Preparatory Classes, General Equivalency Diploma Preparatory Classes, a Baby Book Bag program, and other services all free of charge, and aimed at increasing literacy.
In addition to its broad grants program, the WCCF provides group educational sessions and individual technical assistance for area nonprofits, and hosts an annual day of giving, all free of charge to local nonprofits.