GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — Adults learning to read will open many doors for themselves, and a nonprofit organization dedicated to that goal honored two local residents Monday who enable those adults to learn even more.
The Cape-Atlantic chapter of the Literacy Volunteers Association in Pleasantville hosted about 70 people at the Carriage House for its third-annual Leaders in Literacy awards and fundraiser.
Sheila McLaughlin, executive director of the chapter, said the organization presented the award to Wendel White, a professor at Richard Stockton State College and Robin Stoloff, health reporter for NBC 40.
The 27-year-old nonprofit organization trains volunteers to work with adults to improve literacy skills, she said. They also have tutors for English as a Second Language students, she said. The group educates between 250 and 300 people a year with 40 to 70 volunteers, she said.
The organization hoped to raise about $15,000, which would match the amount raised last year, McLaughlin said.
The two honorees Monday are people who use creative ways to increase adult education and literacy skills in the community.
McLaughlin said providing people with as much information as they can leads to a more complete and enjoyable life.
“The work we do is not a high-profile issue,” she said. “But it’s really a significant issue in the community.”
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 18 percent of Atlantic County residents, 11 percent of Cape May County residents, 21 percent of Cumberland County residents and 10 percent of Ocean County residents lack basic literacy skills.
Stoloff said she hopes to make a difference in someone’s life by teaching them about being healthier.
“There are many things we can control in our life,” she said. “So why not give ourselves the most information we can and empower ourselves to be the healthiest people possible?”
White has done many photographic exhibitions to describe life for many historic African-American communities in New Jersey and other parts of the country. He said he uses different mediums to get as large an audience as possible.
“We need to develop creative skills,” he said. “The world is changing all the time.”
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