Robin Osborne has a startling statistic to share: the U.S. Census Bureau recently reported that 50 percent of adults in New York State can only read at a basic literacy level. The problem, said the Westchester Library System s director for community relations, is that most technology operates at a higher level than that.
To apply for a job at McDonalds, you have to fill out an application online and for health care, there will soon only be information online," she said. "Its crucial that we stop and ask, does everybody have the skills they need to live?
Thats why she and her team have created GED Connect - a program providing instructional and informational resources for people looking to earn their high school equivalency degree.
GED Connect started in 2009. Then last summer, Osborne and a horde of trained volunteer tutors entered the Yonkers Public Library and Peekskill Public Library with a mission: to walk participants through the different parts of the test and help them in the areas they may be struggling with.
Libraries in Greenburgh, Mamaroneck, Mt. Kisco, New Rochelle and Tarrytown have since followed suit by holding regularly-scheduled tutoring sessions for GED Connect.
People can study and learn independently and if it takes longer, it takes longer," she said. "It helps people build a sense of confidence, no one telling you youre wrong.
Osborne said program attendance has continued to grow throughout the past few months. Just the other day, she met a woman from Mexico who graduated from high school and completed some college courses there, but is earning her high school equivalency degree because her achievements are not recognized in the United States.
This March, GED Connect will launch learning sessions at libraries in Ossining and White Plains. If you are looking to log a few volunteer hours, click here to become a tutor for GED Connect.
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