Saturday, March 24 , 2018, 11:04 pm | Fair 56º


Local News

Central Coast Literacy Council Steps In to Run Lompoc Program

A Lompoc Valley program to teach adults with low literacy skills how to read and write will continue under a new partnership with the Central Coast Literacy Council.

To keep the adult reading program operating, the board of trustees for the Lompoc Public Library System this week agreed to enter into a contract with the nonprofit Central Coast Literacy Council.

“It’s an established program, and it will enhance what we’ve been doing and expand it,” said Ann Ruhge, president of the Lompoc library board.

The council’s own board agreed to the partnership last month.

“It just makes sense to move forward,” said Laura Arteaga Davidson, director of the Central Coast Literacy Council. She added that Lompoc and Santa Maria “share similar challenges, similar demographics and a similar commitment to literacy.”

The partnership, tentatively set to begin July 1, will continue the one-to-one literacy training provided by the library’s current program.

The Lompoc program had operated under the library with a staff person, and volunteer tutors providing one-to-one literacy training.

“We want to come in as partners and make it as seamless as possible,” Davidson said.

Talks between the literacy council and Lompoc library officials began earlier this year as the program suffered a budget shortfall that required a bail-out from the Lompoc City Council to keep the services operating through June.

“We just didn’t have the funding,” Ruhge said. “It wasn’t going to happen. I think it’s a way to keep the program going and make it even more viable for the community.”

The Lompoc library board recently eliminated the literacy program staff position as it moved toward joining forces with the Central Coast group.

The partnership with Lompoc fits into the Central Coast Literacy Council’s expansion plans for 2014, Davidson said.

The literacy council received a grant from the Santa Barbara Foundation to create learning centers at workplaces, and has partnerships at Driscoll’s and C&D Zodiac. The workplace tutoring involves classes of between five and 15 students.

The literacy council wasn’t able to adopt the existing program in Lompoc, but will provide an expanded version of the workplace initiative so the literacy services in the community can continue, Davidson added.

Under the agreement, the literacy council will provide the coordinator and operate the program in Lompoc in exchange for receiving a portion of the library’s state grant for literacy services plus a monthly stipend. 

In 2013, the literacy council served 300 students as 50 tutors provided 7,000 hours of instruction, according to Davidson.

The Lompoc program had 90 students and 30 volunteers.

“Part of our vision is to be able to increase that number by opening community-based centers,” Davidson said.

The Central Coast Literacy Council formed in 1983 to serve northern Santa Barbara County.

Recent Census data identified 76,000 residents countywide as being functionally illiterate, Davidson said.

Some of those may be adults who didn’t complete grade school or high school. Others have undiagnosed learning disabilities, something the literacy council’s program can help identify and assign an appropriate tutor for the student.

Illiteracy is a community problem linked to increase crime and unemployment, according to Davidson, who said improving literacy brings economic stability to the community.

Illiteracy also takes a personal toll. Davidson mentioned one man who told of the humiliation at not being able to read until he took a brave first step to show up at the literacy council for help.

His tutors are already seeing improvements in his reading abilities and recently presented a certificate to the student.

“He was just beyond himself,” Davidson said, adding that his is one of the many touching stories she hears through the literacy program.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >