Center helps adults get back on education track
South Carolina residents prepare for the day's lesson at a Rotary club-supported adult education center in Greenville, South Carolina, USA. Photo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Greenville.
It’s a typical scene at a Rotary club-supported adult education center in Greenville, South Carolina, USA: In one classroom, John Tripoli, of the Rotary Club of Greenville, helps a woman with reading lessons. Across the hall in the computer lab, volunteer instructor Danielle Jeanty, of the Rotaract Club of Greenville Technical College, shows students computer mouse techniques and explains technical terms. In another part of the center, a teacher helps a small group add and subtract fractions.
Six Rotary clubs helped raise more than $260,000 to convert a locker room beside a closed swimming pool at a YWCA into usable space for the center. Rotarians also secured donations and in-kind gifts to furnish the facility and the computer lab and to buy software for the center’s English-as-a-second-language program. Now Rotarians are serving as adult literacy tutors in one-on-one or small-group sessions. And under the direction of the Greenville Literacy Association, Rotarians voluntarily staff the center.
The approximately 1,800-square-foot facility features three tutoring rooms, a computer lab, two small classrooms, an office, a book storage closet, and an area for child care, which the YWCA provides while parents attend classes. The center is close to several neighborhoods where a large percentage of the adult residents do not have a high school degree. Some students are immigrants seeking to improve their English.
The facility, which opened in November 2004, was a collaborative project of the Rotary clubs of Greenville, Greenville-East, Greenville Evening, The Foothills (North Greenville County), Pleasantburg (Greenville), and Simpsonville. Hundreds of individual, corporate, and foundation donors contributed to the project, which also received District Simplified Grants.
The center was a centennial community project commemorating Rotary’s 100th anniversary, according to Terry Weaver, 2003-04 president of the Greenville club.
“We set out to do a landmark project – the largest in our club’s history – and included five other clubs, a total of 550 Rotarians, in the effort,” Weaver says. “Our expert partners, the YWCA and Greenville Literacy, have done a remarkable job of staffing, training, managing, and also recruiting students to the center. All in all, we believe this is exactly what centennial projects were supposed to do: make a substantial and long-lasting contribution to our community.”