Large metropolitan area and surrounding county; population of more than 2.8 million
San Diego, California
California Library Literacy Services; city and county branch libraries; community- and faith-based organizations; social services agencies, city agencies; local employers; and the Starbucks Foundation.
Adults needing individual literacy instruction, GED preparation, workplace literacy instruction, and family literacy services. Nearly half of READ clients are Hispanic, and nearly half live at or below the federal poverty level.
- Extensive support and professional development for volunteer tutors helps ensure quality. READ provides many opportunities for training and offers an annual statewide conference for tutors.
- Flexibility enables READ to work with diverse partners to assist clients who are “the hardest to reach and the hardest to teach.”
- Choose partners carefully and monitor them. READ seeks partners with the right mix of resources and continually assesses their effectiveness.
- What makes the partnership work: a clear sense of what partners are needed to make READ’s services work; dynamic leadership; stable funding; emphasis on professional development, evaluation, and use of data for planning; creativity in meshing READ’s needs with those of partners.
- Each year, READ serves more than 1,200 learners, mainly through its army of trained literacy volunteers.
- Serving a region larger than the state of Rhode Island, READ is now in 20 of 34 county library branches, bringing literacy services to 69 communities.
- READ developed family literacy programs, learner orientation sessions, and neighborhood learning centers where none had previously existed.
- Since 1988, READ has formed more than 200 community partnerships. READ actively intervenes to improve or dissolve those that are no longer functioning well.
- READ’s partnership with the Starbucks Foundation provides: funds; free books (about 5,000 yearly) for family literacy programs; story-telling for families at local Starbucks shops; free coffee for tutor-learner pairs who meet in Starbucks shops; donated coffee and gifts for READ events.
State funds for start-up; City of San Diego; fees for workplace literacy programs; philanthropic contributions; and in-kind support.
Val Hardie, Interim Director
5148 Market Street
San Diego, CA 92114-2209