EVANSVILLE, IN — The Verizon Foundation has donated $10,000 to the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library Foundation to train teachers and volunteers in Montessori methods to help area adults who are struggling with literacy skills.
According to library and foundation officials, more than 26,000 adults in Vanderburgh County struggle with basic literacy skills and more than 16 percent of the population falls below national poverty levels.
“The association between skills and opportunity for individual Americans is powerful and growing,” said Melissa Davis, programs and partnership manager for the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library. “Those with poor skills are confined to low earnings and limited choices.”
The Verizon grant will be used to invest in Montessori method training skills and materials. The Montessori method, which was originally developed for children with learning disabilities, is believed to offer significant potential for adult learners. Participants will be offered individualized learning plans, autonomy, self-direction and an immediate sense of success. Trained teachers and volunteers will provide courses for eight weeks at the east branch of the library for classes of up to 20 adults each.
Library officials will work with several area agencies including WorkOne, United Caring Shelter and the Evansville Rescue Mission to identify and refer adults for a test program that will reach as many as 120 adults. The program will help these adults gain the skills needed to prepare for and complete General Equivalency Diplomas. If successful, the courses could expand to other branch locations.
“The Verizon Foundation has a long history of supporting quality educational resources and literacy programs, including the library project in Evansville,” said John Granby, president–Indiana/Kentucky/Michigan Region, Verizon Wireless. “We understand that literacy does not begin and end in the classroom.”
(Assignment Editor’s Note: The Verizon Foundation grant check will be presented to Melissa Davis at 9:30 a.m., Friday, August 19, at the Verizon Wireless Communications Store located at 2001 N. Green River Road.)
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About the Verizon Foundation
The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon, uses its technology, financial resources and partnerships to address critical social issues, with a focus on education and domestic violence prevention. In 2010, the foundation awarded nearly $67 million to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation’s largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered nearly 6 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.