Wichita Adult Literacy Council opens new facility

Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 4:39 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - According to Literacy Texas, more than 43 million adults in the United States cannot read, write or do basic math above a third-grade level. Texas ranks 49th in the US in the percentage of the adult population with a high school diploma, but one local organization is doing its part to bring that ranking up.

The Wichita Adult Literacy Council is a program that works hard to boost the literacy skills for adults in our area. The WALC has been offering help to the community for almost 30 years and after celebrating the opening of a new facility Wednesday morning, officials are excited to help even more people for years to come.

“We basically start with the students’ needs and we go from there,” Carla Arinder, Wichita Adult Literacy Council executive director, said. “Maybe it is a job opportunity, maybe they need citizenship, learn to speak the language. Some people honestly just need to learn to read or basic math.”

The WALC is opening a new facility on the second floor of the Wells Fargo building in Parker Square. Students of all ages go through their programs to improve their literacy skills. Skills that might have been hard to develop while experiencing other hardships.

“I have worked with young men and everyone, have come from a broken family without exception,” Eldon Sund, Wichita Adult Literacy Council tutor, said.

“There are students who have life circumstances that happen to them that hinders their ability to learn at that moment,” Arinder said. “Then they become an adult and realize if only I could do this or that, it would help me in my job search or in my life.”

For reading classes they train for what they call the newspaper test. If you can fully read through one edition then you have aced the exam.

“It takes about two years for someone coming in unable to read, to be able to read the newspaper,” Sund said. “It is one of the few things in life where in two years you can change the life of an individual.”

The council also gets thousands of books donated every year and they are free to anyone in the classes. Without the donors and volunteers, everything they do wouldn’t be possible.

“We appreciate our donors so much,” Arinder said. “It is not just the books that they donate but those that provide their time as tutors to help change our community to make it a better place. To help those in our community that need assistance.”

She said no matter how old you are, if a lack of literacy skills is what is holding you back from reaching your goals, visit the WALC and let them help you reach it.

“If you are in a situation where you just need help studying for a college entrance, for the citizenship test, if there is a goal you have in life and it is hard to get there because you need a little help, that is why we are here,” Arinder said.

Classes run similar to a normal school schedule. They cover different topics and hold classes everyday of the week that run a semester long. If you are interested in taking a class or becoming a volunteer, you can email info@wfwalc.org or call them at (940) 766-1954.