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Your WINS for Literacy in 2016

10 WINSWith 2016 behind us and a brand new year ahead, there’s a lot to be proud of! You accomplished a lot for literacy last year.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to make Houston a better place, every single day!

Everything you do for literacy is making a difference.

Be proud of these wins for literacy. YOU made them happen.

WIN #10 - Reading Practice Group

Finally, a place to work together

For the first time ever, students in our basic reading classes had a regular class in which to meet and practice – together. In addition to their valuable one-on-one time with their volunteer tutor, basic reading students now have the opportunity to meet twice weekly, or as their schedule allows, to practice together.

This class helps speed up learning, creates community, and helps with learner persistence and resilience. We love the Reading Practice Group!

reading practice group

WIN #9 - Laptop Loan Program

The classroom goes home!

Thanks to a generous donation of gently used laptops by partner agency Amaanah Refugee Services, Literacy Advance students are able to check out a laptop for short- or long-term loan to use at home, as part of Literacy Advance Transition Services.

Students have used laptops to work on resumes, to apply for jobs, to practice English, to create software, to study, and for a lot more besides. The Laptop Loan Program is serving more students than ever before, and in 2016, the first Bay Area student checked out a laptop from the loaner pool!

mina laptop loan

WIN #8 - Supplemental Classes

Getting students ready for EVERYTHING life might throw at them

Adult students want to improve their reading, or their English, for specific reasons. Some of their goals can be met in their regular class, and for everything else, there are specially focused supplemental classes.

Across 2016 we offered supplemental classes in topics as diverse as Bad Weather Preparedness, Math, Communication at Work, and Current Events; in this last class, students loved the plain language newspaper so much that they asked for extra copies to take home. And our partnership with Da Camera of Houston resulted in a wonderful creative writing class and a beautiful concert where students’ work was performed and celebrated!

bad weather preparedness

WIN #7 - New site in Waller County

Spreading literacy even further throughout Houston

After a request from the United Way Service Center in Waller County, Literacy Advance classes started in the Brookshire/Katy area in the late summer – our first new satellite site since Bay Area classes opened in 1990.

Since then, 50 students have taken classes at Waller, with the schedule almost non-stop. More classes are planned for 2017 and tutors who led their first classes in the fall are eagerly returning for more.

waller class

WIN #6 - Computer Literacy

Digital literacy helps more people succeed in the modern world

The Computer Lab at Literacy Advance Wilcrest has seen more action than ever before in 2016 (thank you United Way THRIVE for sponsoring the wonderful Mexican Institute classes!); our Outreach team coordinates computer classes at multiple partner locations, including Workfaith Connection and Alliance for Multicultural Services, and we have a new volunteer role in the form of Computer Coach, where students can come by the lab at specified times to get personalized attention and help.

As the world keeps changing, our students will be ready!

mexican institute graduation

WIN #5 - Houston Money Week

Financial literacy gets more people on their feet

We celebrated Houston Money Week in April with multiple financial literacy classes; these proved to be so popular that more are planned with the help of the United Way THRIVE Opportunity Center in the Bay Area. Students loved the conversational nature of the classes and learned about financial literacy in a friendly and safe environment.

houston money week

WIN #4 - FIVE New Tutor Trainings in the Bay Area

A new record!

We’ve had classes in the Bay Area United Way Service Center since 1990 – but have never had the demand for five New Tutor Training sessions in one year before! These newly trained volunteers moved straight into new classes and helped us clear our Bay Area ABE waitlist for the first time in a long time – perhaps ever!

bay area tutors

WIN #3 - THRIVE Referrals

Financial stability for more families

Now in our ninth year as part of United Way THRIVE, we were able to offer specialized presentations for both basic reading students and English learners – including some Literacy Advance Alumni, who came back specially for these information sessions.

As THRIVE helps families become stable and self-sufficient, the whole Houston community benefits!

THRIVE information class

WIN #2 - Community connections

You turned out in record numbers!

Whether you brought a team to Scrabble in the City, attended our recent Opening Opportunities breakfast (and were moved to tears by Mina, Evelyn, and Rafael), came to a one-hour Story Time tour, or volunteered at a community event, you were part of record community involvement in 2016. It all makes us excited for what’s possible, with you by our sides, in 2017!

mina student speaker evelyn & rafael, student speakers


WIN #1 - Our volunteers

You make everything possible!

Our volunteers are a WIN every single day. You are amazing, committed, generous, and overflowing with goodwill, and you make all the good stuff happen! And as an added bonus, most of the volunteers in the photo below – from 2011! – are still part of the Literacy Advance community, leading classes, working with students on their goals, and transforming lives in myriad ways. And bringing the same energy and verve as seen below! Oh volunteers, how we love you!


And those are just some of the Literacy WINS of 2016...

We also celebrated new citizens; Family Literacy events at schools, community centers, and in the Bay Area; volunteerism; work study students and interns; student graduations and success; and so much more. Thank you for being a part of it all!

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You were part of an amazing 2016 – now please join the efforts to make 2017 even better.

Please give a tax-deductible gift so that more great WINS are possible. Thank you, thank you!

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