Daily Point of Light # 1932 Jun 29, 2001

Since 1970, EMLC has trained and supported more than 3,000 dedicated volunteers who have provided free literacy services for adults (both native speakers of English and new English speakers) seeking to improve their own lives. Volunteers provide services in all current programs including: one-to-one tutoring, small group tutoring, English Conversation Groups and Literacy through Technology.

Statistics compiled for the Massachusetts Department of Education estimate that more than 50,000 adults are eligible for literacy services in EMLC’s service delivery area – 20 municipalities outside of Boston. Only five programs funded by the Massachusetts Department of Education provide services in this area. EMLC’s current waiting list stands at 186 people. EMLC gives highest priority to low-income learners.

EMLC has been affiliated with Laubach Literacy for 30 years, Acton-Boxborough United Way for seven years, and the Massachusetts Department of Education for five years. For each organization, EMLC must address rigorous requirements concerning program planning and service delivery.

EMLCs tutoring program serves students who are unable to attend traditional adult education classes. In Fiscal Year 2000, EMLC’s tutoring program served 213 students including:

  • Low-income workers in domestic, food service, or industrial positions (approx. 35%)
  • Unemployed primary care providers of the elderly and children (approx. 39%)
  • Underpaid professionals, academically accomplished in their home countries (approx. 18%), all of whom lack the written, oral, aural, and cultural literacy required for success in our culture and promotion in the workplace. Many work two jobs for up to 60 or 70 hours per week for economic survival.
  • 8% native English speakers; the vast majority of those learners have learning disabilities
  • 92% ESOL learners speaking 34 different native languages

EMLC’s 260 current volunteers make a great commitment of time to help students obtain personal goals: job skill improvement, survival skills, citizenship, cultural understanding, increased parenting skills, and enrollment in higher education. Nineteen percent of EMLC learners got a better job or advanced in their current job as a result of improved literacy skills in Fiscal Year 2000. Tutors reported completion of some learning goals for all EMLC students.

EMLC exists due to the loyalty of its volunteers. Twenty-five percent of volunteers have been with EMLC for five or more years. The founder, Mildred Gilman, and her husband, Martin, have been active with EMLC for 30 years.

EMLC has much success using innovative approaching to serving students. EMLC’s most recent innovation, the Literacy through Technology program, provides volunteer mentors for literacy volunteers and literacy students wishing to improve literacy skills through use of the computer.

EMLC was located in Lexington, Mass. for 30 years. In November 2000, EMLC moved to West Medford.