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The Project: LEARN Story
Its beginnings were humble enough. In 1974, working out of a makeshift office in a downtown storefront, Project: LEARN set out to teach adults who could not read or write. By training volunteers to be tutors, then matching them with students who wanted to read, Project: LEARN took its first small steps on what has become a long and extraordinary journey.

At the inception of Project: LEARN few people realized the extent of adult illiteracy. But in its formative years - because of the inspirational leadership of founding director Nancy Oakley, the tremendous dedication of so many volunteers, and the persistent courage of adults who were learning to read - Project: LEARN gained momentum, and word of its work spread throughout the community.

What began as a small reading project soon evolved into a multi-dimensional program for adults seeking to learn basic skills. Over time, Project: LEARN added English for Speakers of Other Languages tutoring; pre-GED classes; workplace skills training for manufacturing employees; basic level classes for corrections inmates; comprehensive library services designed especially for new readers; computer-assisted learning instruction; and small group teaching. All of these new programs came about with one fundamental aim - to provide basic level students with whatever they needed to realize their goals. Adherence to this principle has paid off: since 1974 over 9,000 adults have improved their skills at Project: LEARN.

Much has changed since those early years. Literacy has a broader meaning now. Because technology has complicated life, possession of basic skills is an absolute necessity. But with more than one-fifth of American adults lacking those necessary basic skills, how will we preserve the ideals we cherish most: freedom, justice, equality, hope, and opportunity? The answer lies in the one thing at Project: LEARN that has not changed since the beginning, and that is the tutor and student, side by side at a table, working together on a lesson. Surely through that relationship is the path to a better community for all.

 

 

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This site was last updated on Tuesday, January 9, 2007.

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Copyright 2007 Project: LEARN.

Questions or Comments about this site?  E-mail us at prolearn@projectlearn.org.