Literacy Training Encourages Reading Program at Health Drive
Health Drive day program Support Coordinator Christy Weathers enjoys watching the conviction and enthusiasm of day program attendees as they learn to read. She recounts with pride how Terrill Jones, Bria Harris, Gerald Stallings and Maggie Stiller are setting literacy goals and working hard to achieve them.
Shortly after starting at Monarch last year, Weathers attended an informational meeting at Craven Literacy Council accompanying a person supported who wanted to learn to read. Literacy Council staff asked Weathers if she would like to become a literacy tutor. The life-long, avid reader loved the idea and accepted the invitation.
The Craven Literacy Council, a nationally accredited volunteer-based provider, teaches adults in the Craven, Jones and Pamlico counties how to read. The group has over 100 trained, volunteer tutors who are certified through the ProLiteracy program.
Weathers completed the 15-hour training becoming a nationally certified tutor, implementing what she learned while assisting the people we support. Jones, Harris, Stallings and Stiller each have a one-on-one tutor through the Literacy Council with Weathers using the time they spend together at the day program informally weaving reading lessons into everyday activities.
“I am a huge believer when you are able to read, you are empowered. As the people we support learn to read, I see their self-confidence soar,” Weathers observed, noting that when day program participants reach literacy goals they use the skills within their communities in many ways whether reading road signs or knowledgeably making a purchase at a local business.
In her support coordinator role, Weathers helps with the day-to-day operations of the day program, schedules programs and local events, and, at times, assists Health Drive’s direct support professionals. As a literacy tutor, she can suggest resources to day program staff that can help individuals supported develop reading skills.
Weathers tries to motivate with her love of reading: “I am very proud of them. Reading opens up a whole new world . . . It started with one person we support wanting to read and he has created a small chain reaction.”
Health Drive attendees have been active in Craven County Public Library’s summer reading program, checking out books during weekly visits. Also, Weathers noted, plans are being reviewed to implement a literacy group training since additional day program attendees have expressed an interest in learning to read.
“When you read, it opens up limitless opportunities. The people we support deserve those opportunities,” Weathers said.
Photo caption: Health Drive Support Coordinator Christy Weathers, far right, reviews the local newspaper with Bria, center, and Maggie, left.