The Duncan Area Literacy Council doesn’t get much press, but it’s been around since 1985.
Initially organized to teach adults to read, the basic mission for those involved has never changed.
And while the council’s core mission remains the same, changes have been made to the program to keep it alive.
That includes having Cheryl Dowell come on board as director, a position she’s held since the fall of 2011. Another priority the group is stressing is achieving more community awareness.
Dowell said the DALC’s main goal is to teach adults, 18 and over, to read. It also includes teaching English to those who read or speak another language.
“We currently have six adult learners who are receiving one-on-one tutoring,” said Dowell.
This year, DALC is kicking off a huge fundraiser to promote awareness of its mission. Between 5 and 9:30 p.m. Monday, April 23, council supporters will be at CherryBerry (1803 N. U.S. Highway 81) in conjunction with National World Book Night. A percentage of the store’s sales that evening will go to DALC.
In addition, World Book will be distributing thousands of books to bring awareness to worldwide literacy efforts.
At the Duncan event, the first 50 families who participate in the CherryBerry fundraiser will also receive a free book. “The World Book Night is billed as the biggest book giveaway ever,” Dowell noted.
Housed at First United Methodist Church, the DALC has a board of seven members dedicated to promoting literacy throughout Duncan and the area. The number isn’t limited to the active board members, though.
“We have a group of 12 tutors who are all willing and prepared to make an impact on the 25 percent of Stephens County’s population who are unable to read or write at the third-grade level,” Dowell said.
The still-new director admitted tutoring isn’t easy. Board members are not involved in the tutoring process. In researching the DALC’s history, three years after the group was formed there were 52 people attending training to serve as tutors. They were required to attend a 10-hour workshop to gain the needed skills. The curriculum was based on the “Laubach Method,” which is not a short-cut process and was based on visual recognition and repetition.
Now the program mainly uses the “Voyager System,” Dowell said, and when needed, “Hooked on Phonics” is used.
The council also works with other agencies to help promote literacy; for example, encouraging young mothers to read to their infants.
Tutors are responsible for preparing their lessons and instruction time can be at least once a week, if not more. All tutors are also volunteers.
“We are always in need of more people who are willing to volunteer and we would encourage anyone interested to let us know,” Dowell said.
Tutoring is confidential, which is important to some of the adult students who’ve made the decision to learn how to read or improve their reading skills.
In order to keep the organization a continuing service, several fundraisers are held and grants are sought.
“Grants are very important to our organization,” Dowell said. “We’ve applied for several grants and we continue to work to acquire funding to purchase necessary curriculum, provide training and to purchase needed items.”
Dowell said the FUMC has been extremely beneficial, providing an office space for tutoring, and recently its choir held a fundraiser and shared profits with the DALC.
The council has also reapplied to again become a United Way agency, and the McCasland Foundation has been generous, too, Dowell noted.
Last fall, an effort was made to improve community knowledge of the DALC’s purpose, with flyers posted in businesses and agencies throughout Duncan.
“We also keep our message in front of the public by using the local cable channel where our information runs constantly,” Dowell added. This allows people who can read to share with those needing assistance.
“We hope to help adults become functionally literate,” Dowell pointed out. “We want to prepare them to lead productive lives.”
As for World Book Night, it was first held in 2011 in London and Dowell believed 1 million books were provided, including to those in hospitals and prisons.
Ireland and Germany have joined the World Book Night project, and with the United States now partnering, it’s expected another 1 million books will be shared in 2012.
Dowell hoped World Book Night in Duncan can reach those who need the help most. She also hoped more people will get involved as tutors.
DALC board of directors include Dowell; Sue Loughridge, president; Marilyn Hamlin, vice president; Sue Gibbons, treasurer; members Kitty Clifton and Kathy Johnson; and ex-officio member, Jan Cole.
For information, contact Dowell at 580-252-4322.
Duncan Literacy Council, CherryBerry team up for fundraiser and World Book Night
The Duncan Area Literacy Council doesn’t get much press, but it’s been around since 1985.
Americans prepare to support school choice
Millions of Americans will voice their support for educational opportunity during the fourth-annual National School Choice Week, which begins on Jan. 26.
The week will include an unprecedented 5,500 events across all 50 states, with a goal of increasing public awareness of the importance of empowering parents with the freedom to choose the best educational environments for their children.
National School Choice Week events will be independently-planned and independently-funded by schools, organizations, individuals and coalitions. Events include rallies, roundtable discussions, school fairs, parent information sessions, movie screenings, and more.
Last monolingual Chickasaw citizen dies at 93
Emily Johnson Dickerson, a full blood Chickasaw who spoke only the Chickasaw language her entire life, died at her Ada home on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013. She was 93.
Dickerson was the last monolingual Chickasaw language speaker, according to Joshua Hinson, director of the Chickasaw Nation Language Department.
Hinson, who has devoted his career to revitalization of the Chickasaw language, said today the loss of Dickerson was monumental. “I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the loss and what this means to the Chickasaw Nation,” he said.
Dickerson was one of only an estimated 70 remaining fluent speakers of the Chickasaw language.
Where is Mrs. Stephens County?
Julie Pittman, Mrs. Oklahoma 2013, recently competed at Mrs. America and won Mrs. Photogenic. Who will she crown as her successor? The search is on.
Mrs. Oklahoma is proud to announce its search for married women residing in Oklahoma who wish to receive the honor of representing their community in the 2014 State Competition. Selected applicants will receive an official title and banner and become their community’s representative.
Native American focus features works by Choctaw artist
Preparing for a temporary exhibit of works already in the vault at Chisholm Trail Heritage Center involved days of research for the staff, with curator Andy Couch overseeing the project. The exhibit features oil painting portraits and other images by the late Brunetta Bernard Griffith, of Choctaw ancestry, who died in 2006. It is part of the museum’s focus on Native American arts and history which kicked off with the new year and continues to March 14.
“It is an exciting exhibit in that not all of her works have been on display here before and the quality of the work is showcased in this exhibit,” Executive Director Stacy Cramer Moore said.
County parades provided Christmas spirit despite cold weather
Whether you attended one, none, or all three area parades Dec. 14, there may have been a few scenes you missed.
If you didn’t brave the cold, here is a glimpse into the Christmas season in Stephens County when Duncan, Marlow and Comanche celebrated with the cities’ annual parades.
Floats ranged from those featuring groups, churches, city and county figures. Of course Santa ended each parade in his jolly style.
Blood drive scheduled for Empire
Empire High School will host a blood drive conducted by the Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) will from 1-5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11.
Each donor will receive a “FEEL BOLD” T-shirt, health screenings and Donor Rewards points, redeemable for items in OBI’s online store. Any donor who wishes to support the Global Blood Fund can forgo theT-shirt.
Western classics scripted by art history
Catch a western classic at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center as a free movie series begins this month with the 1962 John Ford film, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” in the T.H. McCasland Jr. Experience Theater, 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15.
CTHC’s Andy Couch, associate curator and programs coordinator, said the western films relate to the permanent art collection displayed in the Garis Gallery of The American West.
“John Ford was strongly influenced by western artists and painters like Charles M. Russell and Frederic Remington.” Couch said.
New’s sculptures go on display
A Central High artist is getting an opportunity to show her sculptures to a wider audience.
Kathye New’s work is being displayed in the Paseo Art District in Oklahoma City, having been formerly invited by another artist. The first of three shows ended Friday, but the next show is set to begin this month at another art gallery in the Paseo Art District.
4-H youth cook-off creates champions
Fifty-six Stephens County 4-H members and 18 Cloverbuds prepared their recipes for the 30th annual Stephens County 4-H Cook Off.
Dishes were judged on taste and appearance at the event, held Nov. 4 at the Stephens County Fair & Expo Center. Awards were presented to the top three in each category.
A monogrammed apron was presented to the first place winners, while second and third places received kitchen items. Cloverbuds (5-8 year olds) were given a certificate and measuring spoons.
Central High FFA generates $20,000 for chapter with student ‘labor auction’
A crowd attended the annual Central High FFA labor auction last week with More than 250 supporters of the Central High FFA program attended the annual labor auction, a fundraiser for the chapter.
The high seller for the night was chapter President Deekota Williams fetching a nice $1,200 after the bidding was stopped. Sixty-three FFA members, as well as cakes and pies were auctioned with a grand total of $20,000 being raised for the support of activities for the FFA chapter.
The FFA chapter said they appreciate the wonderful support of the community.
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