New Program Combats Metro Detroit Illiteracy

The Renaissance (MI) Chapter of the Links, Incorporated, and Fifth Third Bank, Join Forces with Pro-Literacy Detroit to Combat Illiteracy in Detroit

By: Loretta Humphrey-Cruz

One of the most pervasive problems facing the city of Detroit is illiteracy. In Metro Detroit there are approximately 376,000 adults that read below a 6th grade level who are underemployed or unemployed who must improve their skills. Illiteracy impacts the viability of the person struggling daily to read and comprehend at the most basic level. Not only are Illiterate or functionally illiterate adults unable to read basic food labels, medicine bottle labels, or read to their children, they cannot read or complete job applications.  The fact is, more than a quarter million Metro Detroiters lack the basic skills to apply for entry level employment and that shines a bright light on the urgent need to take action.

The cost of inaction is high for city residents and the underlying factors that contribute to the cycle of illiteracy make the costs exponentially higher since it also fosters inter-generational illiteracy, higher levels of recidivism, and grinding poverty. The cost of doing nothing is no longer an option.

The Challenge to Reach and Teach 200 Metro Detroit Residents

While this is not good news, it can be reversed. Pro-Literacy Detroit, the Renaissance (MI) Chapter of the Links, Incorporated, and Fifth Third Bank are joining forces to help reverse the corrosive effects of illiteracy in Detroit.  No miracles. Just hard work and we are asking you to help.

Pro-Literacy, the Renaissance (MI) Chapter of the Links, Incorporated and Fifth Third Bank are providing assistance to city residents, many who are unemployed or underemployed. We expect to recruit, train and certify 200 volunteer tutors to provide free literacy tutorial services for students who struggle with illiteracy.

Volunteer tutors will attend a 16-hour Basic Literacy Tutor Training Workshop and Orientation (see Orientation Workshop schedule through 2012).  Once they complete the workshop, they will receive a certificate that will enable them to tutor for any literacy organization in the United States.  Certified tutors will be matched with students and meet with them for two hours each week over a 12-month period. All meetings will be conducted in a public location.

To find out to register for a certification workshop, or other ways you can volunteer to help combat illiteracy in Detroit, go to . You will find on the website all the information you need to get involved.

About Pro-Literacy Detroit

Pro-Literacy Detroit is a nonprofit, accredited affiliate of ProLiteracy America.  Pro-Literacy Detroit provides free literacy tutorial services to persons living in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park. Since its beginning, Pro-Literacy Detroit has trained over 10,000 volunteer tutors and assisted more than 20,000 learners. Pro-Literacy Detroit has 52 tutoring and literacy sites throughout Metro Detroit.  The long range goal of Pro-Literacy Detroit is to reduce the illiteracy rate 50% over the next ten years.


About The Renaissance Chapter of the Links, Incorporated

The Renaissance Chapter of The Links, Incorporated is a civic organization of accomplished women linked in friendship and service committed to positively impacting outcomes affecting life in the Metro Detroit Area.  The Renaissance Chapter, based in Greater Detroit, is part of The Links, Inc., a 60-year old national and international organization with nearly 11,000 professional women of color, who represent significant influence, power and wealth in their communities. Linked together in 275 chapters located in nearly every state and the District of Columbia, Nassau, the Bahamas; Frankfort, Germany; and South Africa, The Links, Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest charitable organizations of women of African descent who are devoted to serving the community.



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