Area literacy coalition benefits from local professors

FOR RELEASE
2005-02-15
 Huntington, Ind.—Dr. Evelyn Priddy and Dr. Jeffrey Webb have found a shared interest in the local community. These two Huntington College professors have actively participated in the effort to help county residents acquire essential reading, writing and math skills. Priddy, professor of education, recently completed a six-year term of service on the Huntington County Literacy Coalition Board and has been active with the Coalition for a total of nine years. She has served such positions as President and Vice President. Webb, associate professor of history, was recently elected to the role of Vice President on the Board.

Priddy cites the willingness of Board members to be involved and their dedication to promoting literacy as a highlight of her service with the organization. “We live in a society that is dependant on literacy,” said Priddy. “Anyone lacking literacy skills is at a definite disadvantage. If we are going to progress as a community, we have to be mindful of those people who need help.”

In his new role as Vice President, Webb will focus his energy on raising local awareness. Webb first became involved with the literacy coalition as a tutor.

“I started out as a tutor and have been working with the same person weekly for about four years,” said Webb. “He started out at a kindergarten reading level and is now at a sixth grade level. Just watching that sort of personal transformation and empowerment in someone’s life makes me feel adult literacy is an area worthy to be involved with. It’s not a handout. It’s a great form of charity work. It is tool-oriented philanthropy--helping people build a tool set of skills.”

Formed in 1987, the Huntington County Literacy Coalition is a not-for-profit organization in partnership with the United Way. It helps Huntington County residents acquire reading, writing, and math skills at a basic level with the goal that such skills will allow individuals to participate more fully in society and in the workplace. An intake coordinator at the public library works to match community volunteers with non-reading adults or adults working on their GED who need tutors. A board of community members interested in promoting literacy serve six-year rotating terms and meet once a month to oversee the coalition.
 
Huntington College is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. Following a decade of growth and development, Huntington College will become Huntington University in mid-2005. U.S.News & World Report ranks Huntington among the top comprehensive colleges in the Midwest. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington College is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in northeast Indiana. Huntington is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and was named one of the 50 best Christian places to work by Christianity Today magazine.  
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