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At the USCAL 2011 conference, awards will be presented to recognize the outstanding efforts of those who are making a difference in the adult literacy field.

Victor Morales of the Adult Reading Center in Pearland, Texas, will receive the Ruth J. Colvin and Frank C. Laubach Award for Adult Learner Excellence. Morales began as a learner at the Adult Reading Center in 2009 and through faithful attendance and lots of individual study, rapidly improved his English speaking and writing skills. He eventually participated in a tutor training to become a volunteer tutor and, after shadowing an Adult Reading Center instructor, Victor began leading citizenship classes. To date, Victor has donated 737 hours of tutoring to 36 citizenship students, 12 of whom have since become American citizens.

Laura Sherwood, of The College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois, will receive the Ruth J. Colvin and Frank C. Laubach Award for Excellence in Community-Based Adult Literacy. As the volunteer literacy coordinator, Sherwood has extended outreach to the larger community of more than 30 adult education providers, and each year, networks with other literacy partners to provide trainings to more than 50 tutors.  Sherwood also helped the Lake County Jail launch a literacy program for inmates, and she has personally transformed the lives of more than 200 ABE and ESOL inmate students. She has expanded services to English language learners by launching an ESOL conversation circle. She also began networking with the college community to create an initiative that provides an opportunity for GED learners to meet one-on-one with literacy tutors, an initiative that has caused her to become known as a local trendsetter among peers and community constituents.

The Florida Literacy CoalitionFlorida Health Literacy Initiative, in Orlando, Florida, will receive the USCAL Award for Program Innovation and Collaboration. The Florida Health Literacy Initiative was formed to address the health literacy needs of many adult ESOL learners. In 2009, after the Florida Literacy Coalition developed the curricula Staying Healthy, An English Learner’s Guide to Health Care and Healthy Living, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida pledged $360,000 over three years to fund a statewide initiative that emphasizes the importance of community collaborations. To date, FLC has documented more than 80 partnering agencies, companies, and organizations that have contributed to this effort. Some activities have included providing healthcare screenings, flu shots, eyeglasses, health fairs, trips to hospitals, and food and cooking lessons for healthy eating. As part of this project, local program partners are required to share attendance data and conduct pre- and post-test health literacy assessments, student surveys, and teacher surveys. To date, more than 3,200 students and families have been served, and the average increase in health literacy skills was 38 percent.

Dr. Tandiar Samir of Tadros El Meshreky Association for Social Services (TEM) and the Al-Anba Mossaa Al-Aswad Association (ANBA) in Egypt will receive the Ann C. Michel Women in Literacy Award. Samir is a physician and public health professional with nearly two decades of experience in addressing public health issues that affect women, including ending female genital mutilation and improving the quality and availability of medical care. She has also lead several projects to educate Cairo’s youth about reproductive health and reduce the incidence of dangerous practices such as unsafe sex and self-induced abortions.  An Ashoka fellow, Samir started both Tadros El Meshreky Association and Al-Anba Mossa Al-Aswad Association and also served for a number of years on the board of the Near East Foundation, a ProLiteracy partner in Morocco.

Questions? Contact Michele Diecuch, information and referral manager, at 315-422-9121, ext. 321 or at info@proliteracy.org.