Sonia Socha and I are just finishing up an intense couple weeks working on the Maryland Association for Adult, Community and Continuing Education (MAACCE) with their GO GREEN for Adult Literacy campaign for National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week.
This has been a labor of love for us as we both serve on the MAACCE Board, where Sonia serves as the Chair of the Advocacy and Communication Committee, and I serve as Co-Chair. For the GO GREEN campaign, Sonia provided most of the strategic guidance, coordinated with the publicist, crafted the overall message, organized visits with congressional leaders and state leaders, and arranged for the proclamation from Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declaring this September 21-26 to be Adult Education and Family Literacy Week for the state. We were fortunate enough to be able to meet with Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford for the presentation of the proclamation.
For my part, I designed the mini–kits for MAACCE members to use in their awareness work, created the mini-cards to accompany our MAACCE Green literacy wristbands, and managed the social media aspects of this campaign. Check out the MAACCE Facebook Page or their Twitter Feed.
Sonia and I were both gratified to see how engaged the MAACCE members were in this campaign, sending in photo from across the state of adult education learners, teachers, staff, and other adult literacy supporters.
We went through all this effort because of our shared passion for adult literacy. Sonia and I both trained as educators, but like most people in the adult literacy field came to it sideways. For my part, it started when I volunteered for a local literacy program, not really dreaming it would be a whole new direction in my career.
I keep advocating for adult literacy education for two main reasons:
1. The Learners: I am constantly in awe of the courage and persistence that adult learners have. It takes incredible courage to seek out education, whether for basic reading skills or to finally complete a high school diploma. I have seen students persist in their goals despite family responsibilities, working multiple jobs, and learning differences. These learners are truly my heroes.
2. The Teachers: Teachers in this field tend to do this for love. In Maryland 89% of the teachers are part-time. Usually, they are contractors making less than $30 per hour. All of these teachers have at least a Bachelors degree; many have Masters and Doctorates. They lack the support that the K-12 system usually give their teachers in terms of professional development, curricular resources, and supplies. Yet, they keep doing incredible work in supporting learners in reaching their goals. For a blog post from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education about professional development for adult basic skills teachers, please click here.
In short, at Gold Apple Services, we care deeply about education for adults who were educationally under-served, and their teachers, and our aim is to help them have the excellence in support they deserve and need. Our services include consulting for nonprofit programs who want to start such a program or take their program to the next leavel of excellence. We also provide professional development for teachers in adult education, with an eye to developing the whole teacher.
Finally, for your further reading pleasure: Here is a link to MAACCE’s president Heather Ritchie’s blog about advocating for adult learners.