Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

September 28, 2013

Indy Reads encourages adult literacy in Hendricks County

By Brenda L. Holmes brenda.holmes@flyergroup.com
Hendricks County Flyer

---- — PLAINFIELD — Indy Reads has opened a new office in Hendricks County with help from Duke Energy and the Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library.

Indy Reads is a non-profit organization that uses volunteers to provide basic literacy tutoring to illiterate and semi-literate adults. The organization has opened an office to help facilitate the program in Hendricks County. Marcia Gentleman is the program manager for the county and has office space donated by the Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library.

“There are adults in Hendricks County who cannot read,” Gentleman said. “In 2003, there was a study completed that said 6 percent of the adults in the county could only read at a sixth-grade reading level and below.”

She said that translated into 6,000 people at that time.

“And our population and grown and diversified, so I think there is going to be a dramatic increase in that number when the new data comes out,” she said.

Duke Energy provided a $60,000 grant to establish the program here. Steve Bahr, Duke Energy district manager, said his company is happy to help bring literacy services to residents here.

“Whether a student’s goal is to get a job or a better one, obtain a driver’s license, pass the GED test, or read to their children, Indy Reads fills a vital community need,” Bahr said. “And this couldn’t have happened without the Plainfield library. Having the physical space was key to starting this program here.”

Gentleman said her office is in the Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library but the organization is partnering with all of the libraries in the county to provide space for volunteers to present the program. Her first order of business is to look for volunteers who will tutor.

“We already have some students who want to help,” she said. “We have some upcoming dates where people can come and learn more.”

She will be hosting orientation opportunities from 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 8 and from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library. To register for either of the orgientations, contact Gentleman by calling 619-7717 or by e-mailing to mgentleman@indyreads.org.

“Adult literacy is a workforce development issue,” Gentleman said. “Adults with low literacy skills are more likely to be unemployed. If we can help adults learn to read, then we’re making a significant contribution.”