An Andrews University student visits the James White Library. Photo credit: Daniel Bedell
This local grant is part of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation’s recent award of $10.5 million donation to support summer, family and adult literacy programs, representing the organization’s largest one-day grant donation in its 29-year history. More than 43 million adults in the United States cannot read, write or do basic math above a third-grade level (Adult Literacy in the United States, 2019).
Andrews University provost Christon Arthur states, “We are proud to partner with Dollar General and Neighbor to Neighbor in meeting the needs of our community. Andrews University recognizes the need for Adult Basic Education (ABE), English as a Second Language (ESL) and a High School Equivalency Program (HEP) to provide access to economic opportunities that will improve the social-emotional wellbeing of Berrien Springs and neighboring community residents, as well as migratory and seasonal workers.”
According to Paulette Johnson, dean of libraries and director of the grant initiative, “The ABE programs are designed to: (a) create a safe place for adults to gain essential literacy and communication skills, (b) train students and other volunteers in using evidence-based approaches that address reading, the effective use of the English language and credentials for post-secondary advancement, and (c) increase the awareness of the need for ABE among our students, faculty and staff.”
The program will begin in September 2022 and continue to the summer of 2023. It consists of three cohorts taught by certified instructors and volunteers at Neighbor to Neighbor two evenings per week as well as a campus-wide campaign to raise awareness about ABE on the Andrews campus. The University hopes this will become an annual program that will provide lasting benefits to individuals and families within the community.
Andrews University ABE program facilitators include Luda Vine, Center for Intensive English Program; Annie Lopez, College of Education & International Services; Ingrid Slikkers, International Center for Trauma Education & Care; Carlisle Sutton, Office of Research & Creative Scholarship; Paulette Johnson, James White Library; and Lucy Randal, Neighbor to Neighbor.
"For nearly 30 years, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has been proud to invest in literacy and education programs in our hometown communities," said Denine Torr, executive director of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. "The recent and significant shifts in the educational landscape have made the Foundation’s mission more critically important. As we work to create access to high-quality instruction for all individuals, we share our gratitude for the educators who are working to uplift and empower others. We hope these funds will have a meaningful impact on students and teachers across the country and look forward to seeing the positive impact they have on learners.”
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation supports organizations that increase access to educational programming, stimulate and enable innovation in the delivery of educational instruction and inspire a love of reading. Each year, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation awards funds to nonprofit organizations, schools, and libraries within a 15-mile radius of a Dollar General store or distribution center to support adult, family, summer and youth literacy programs. The Foundation also offers a student referral program for individuals interested in learning how to read, speak English, or prepare for the high school equivalency exam. Referrals to a local organization that provides free literacy services are available online here or through referral cards found in the Learn to Read brochures that are available at the cash register of every Dollar General store.
Andrews University has a long history of providing ESL instruction, GED testing and literacy and numeracy programs for children. This grant allows the University to expand these initiatives to adults in the community. The funds will be used to purchase learning materials, evaluation resources, and support the year-long education campaign. Participants who complete the program will receive an Andrews University certificate of participation. Volunteer tutors are needed. Participants and volunteers may contact Paulette Johnson at email@example.com.
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is proud to support initiatives that help others improve their lives through literacy and education. Since 1993, the Foundation has awarded more than $216 million in grants, helping more than 15.4 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy, a general education diploma or English proficiency. Cal Turner Jr. founded the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to honor his grandfather and Dollar General’s co-founder, J.L. Turner, who was functionally illiterate having dropped out of school in the third grade to support his family. To learn more about the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, visit www.dgliteracy.org.
Founded in 1874, Andrews University is the flagship institution of higher education for the Seventh-day Adventist Church and offers more than 160 areas of study, including advanced degrees. Its main campus is in Berrien Springs, Michigan, but the University also provides instruction at colleges and universities in more than 25 countries around the world.
Isabella Koh, University Communication student writer, with additional material provided by Dollar General