The Bell County Literacy Center announced the re-opening of their facility after over a year of flood renovations Tuesday morning. The big flood in June of 2011 caused over 3 feet of water damage to the building.
President of Bell County Council on Literacy, Kathy Newman states, “What started out as a tragedy, ended up being a new beginning.”
Without the help of many volunteers and businesses along with donations from Dollar General, United Way, & FEMA the remodeling of the Literacy Center would have never been possible.
The mission statement of the Bell County Literacy Center is to improve the quality of life to all of Bell County and they are doing just that. A record amount of graduates each year improve their lives by working hard and getting their GED with the help of the Literacy Center.
In Bell County over almost half of the adult population is illiterate, according to BCCL board member Vic Adams. All of the volunteers at the center work hard everyday to decrease this statistic and motivate many adults to reach their full potential.
In fact, everyone at the center is a volunteer except for one paid, part-time high level instructor Dr. Rich Mason who is a graduate of Yale University.
Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College has a very strong relationship with the Bell County Literacy Center. Adams has been involved with literacy since the early 1990s and he states that the BCCL works very well with the college. He also says that it is extremely important not to forget that the BCCL is still funded by the community itself.
The director of the program Patty Burnside is stepping down after volunteering with the Literacy Center for 22 years. Everyone at the center agrees that no one in Bell County is more passionate about this program than she is. She says all of her compassion comes from relating to the students herself after being unable to read in the third grade and moving up and finally earning her master’s degree.
She states that “the ultimate goal of the center is to see the door locked, closed, and never opened again because the county doesn’t need GED adult education services.”
At this point in time we know that this isn’t possible but with the help of the many volunteers throughout the community Patty says that this will always be the ultimate goal to strive for.
What many people may not realize is that the GED testing is changing in 2014 and it will be totally different so the literacy center is encouraging people to get their GED as soon as possible.
Ultimately, all the volunteers at the center agree that something as sad as a flood ended up being a blessing because they are back better than ever.
You can reach Chase Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org