Anne Arundel County Literacy Council seeks volunteers


At the Anne Arundel County Literacy Council, volunteers can change a life through literacy.

Volunteer tutors at the Annapolis-based nonprofit helped to provide more than 216 adults and out-of-school youth with free, individualized reading, writing, math, GED, and English as a second language instruction in 2015.

Student Thomas Armstrong with Tutor Priscilla Gray.

Student Thomas Armstrong with Tutor Priscilla Gray.

Now, the organization is seeking help for 2016 and beyond, according to Lisa Vernon, the council’s executive director.

“We are experiencing a large increase of north county residents requesting our free tutoring program and we are actively recruiting volunteer tutors in the north county area to meet the demand,” Vernon said in an email. “Our tutor training program and ongoing support fully equips our volunteers to tutor.”

In May, the Literacy Council held an event to honor volunteer tutors who have taken the time to be trained for the vital-role of helping adults improve their reading skills. Tutors were matched one-on-one with those who displayed an interest in learning. Approximately 177 people attended the event, some of whom Vernon says were moved to tears after realizing the difference, the council’s program has made for many.

“I’m not a tutor, but I do work at getting volunteers to help with the program and I don’t think I have ever met a more dedicated corps of volunteers,” said Jill York, a volunteer who has worked for 24 years with the Red Cross recruiting, training, overseeing and recognizing the accomplishments of volunteers. “The training is intensive and the support resources are many. But those willing to make the time commitment are indeed special. Many tutors become lifelong friends with their students.”

The program occasionally receives grants that assist financially and food for the May event was donated by county restaurants and grocery stores.

The Literacy Council is working to recruit more tutors in the north county area, particularly in places like Brooklyn Park, Glen Burnie, Severn and Maryland City.

“Thirty to 50 percent of those attending Anne Arundel Community College’s (AACC) GED program orientation sessions are turned away because their TABE scores are not high enough to qualify for entry into the program,” Vernon said. “The good news is that AACC began officially referring these students to the Literacy Council. We have already received nine of these AACC orientation student referrals asking for our free tutoring.”

“These students are goal oriented, motivated to succeed, and live in the north county area. We are looking to train additional north county residents who can then conveniently meet these students for individualized lessons,” Vernon said.

For students, there is no charge for books, tutoring or assessments that they receive and they can meet for lessons in any public location, including all 15 county libraries, Vernon said, noting that the program was made possible through the talents and dedication of 233 fully trained volunteer tutors and assessors.

Of one of the many examples Vernon provided, Priscilla Gray, a tutor, recounted how she faired with student Thomas Armstrong. Gray said Armstrong is motivated and enthusiastic, and there is no question that he wants to improve his reading.

“His enthusiasm is what keeps me motivated,” Gray said. “I feel that the teaching resources provided to us by the Literacy Council, along with the support and guidance which is just a phone call away provides the tools needed to keep his classes interesting,” Gray said.

Student Sarah Jones praised her tutor, Susan Felton, for helping her to achieve a GED.

“Susann played a huge role in helping me pass the GED,” Jones said. “Thanks to her tutoring, I was able to score in the top 10 percent of the country. I am very thankful for the help I got from the Anne Arundel County Literacy Council.”

For more information about the Annapolis Literacy Council or to volunteer, visit