Our Work

The Issue

INAGIME A WDRJO WHFRF YDV GAM’T RFAO.
(Imagine a world where you can’t read.)

That’s a tall order. For most of us, reading has become as natural as breathing. We look at a form, a sign or a computer screen and the meaning of what we see is automatically understood. But what if it wasn’t?

What if that form we couldn’t understand was a job application or at the emergency room? What if the sign was on a job site, a highway or at the unemployment office? Maybe that computer screen has nothing more on it than help for your child on some homework.

It might be hard to imagine not reading, but it should be really easy to imagine the consequences.
IF YOUR NEIGHBOR CAN READ, YOU’LL HAVE A BETTER LIFE.

You read that right. Literacy is not just another worthy cause. It’s the one thing that’s proven to dramatically better the quality of life for everyone in a community.

Right now, 40% of our Eighth Graders don’t meet basic state language standards, 21% of our adults don’t have a high school diploma and between 11%-18% of our adults lack basic literacy skills. That means that all of our lives could be seriously improved.

Here’s what literacy would do for you:
– Save $88,000 in our social services costs for every adult that reads
– Save $66M a year in county healthcare costs for every adult reading at a high school level
– Lower our health insurance costs $1,700 for every HS grad
– Drop violent crime 30% for just one extra year in school
– Drop property crime 6% for just one extra year in school
– Reduce unemployment (HS grads are 13% more likely to have a job)

A stronger, safer and more productive community; now you can imagine how much better things would be if we could all read.

Complete report at Herkimer-Oneida County Indicators

The Solution

A COALITION – IT WORKS, IF YOU HELP

The Literacy Coalition of Herkimer and Oneida Counties is not just another organization dedicated to one aspect of literacy. It’s a national blue print for organizing, activating and advocating for those resources that already exist. Proven effective in community after community, the coalition creates new success through focusing on five simple things:

1) Integrating existing resources to magnify their success
2) Identifying gaps to be filled in community resources
3) Instituting best practices for all service providers
4) Innovating the content and delivery of literacy programs
5) Influencing the general public and policymakers to change the system

It’s not just about getting more resources, it’s about getting more out of those we already have.
100% LITERACY THOUGH 100% COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT.

That’s our Vision. To get there we are working to make life-long learning an active and ongoing priority in our community.

It’s more than just reading. It’s a commitment to help every individual read, write, speak English, compute and solve problems at a level that allows them to succeed at work and participate in our community. Today, we need to think beyond the basics. We have to prepare people to navigate the complex world of healthcare, financial services and digital living.

SUCCESS IS ALL ABOUT KEEPING IT SIMPLE
After months of planning, with hundreds of local individuals and organizations, we have developed an extraordinary roadmap tailored to our community. It’s a plan of action.

Right now, we’re working on three things that will make a difference:
1) Universal pre-school preparation (a key factor in meeting the critical 3rd grade standards)
2) Intervention for children at-risk of failing high school literacy standards
3) Improved literacy and vocational outreach programs for low literate adults

In Herkimer and Oneida Counties low literacy is a growing issue. It wouldn’t be a stretch to call it a crisis. Today, of the tens of thousands who need literacy help, less than 10% actually get it.
Sure it’s a big problem. But we have a solution and it includes you.

Complete Report:LCHOC Plan for Increasing Literacy (PDF)

Campaign for Grade Level Reading

2013 Annual Report – Video