LITERACY SUCCESS STORIES

Born to Teach, Inspired to Act

“We’re here to support people who want to achieve their literacy goals.”  Meet Barb Mancell, a Literacy Outreach Coordinator. As a school teacher for 34 years, Barb Mancell understands the importance of literacy gained through formal education.  Find out more about how Barb realized and understood the importance of community-based literacy…

As a school teacher for 34 years, Barb Mancell understands the importance of literacy. She also knows a lot about dedication and commitment. She gave her life to the public school system and she was rewarded time and again as she prepared young minds to go into the world and find themselves. But Barb had no idea that others in her community were just as passionate about literacy.

It happened at a chance lunch meeting one afternoon. Barb ran into a friend who works in adult literacy in her community. She told Barb about her work, the need for informal learning in communities, and the people that they impact. Barb was still interested in literacy, and given that she had some time and wanted to give back to the community, she was a natural fit for a maternity leave position as a Literacy Outreach Coordinator.

Two years later, Barb is still working as an outreach coordinator and is driven to make a difference in her community. “I love my job and I cannot say enough about the people I am working with. I am inspired every day when I see what is going on in our community and the level of commitment and caring really drives me to do more.”

As an outreach coordinator, Barb wears many hats. She spends her day checking e-mails, responding to dozens of requests, attending meeting after meeting, writing newsletters and family literacy program plans and even delivering supplies.

But what Barb and other outreach coordinators really do is build relationships; they bring people together and mobilize communities; they identify and address local literacy priorities and develop and implement action plans to address those priorities; and they prepare people for the modern world. This is the true value of this amazing group of committed and caring individuals.

“I really had no idea of the scope of work that was going on in my community until I took this job. There is a need out there and I am working with a group of people who are qualified and committed to filling that need. We’re here to support people in their efforts to achieve their literacy goals and I will do whatever I can to make that happen.” 

Currently Barb is working on several projects that are close to her heart, including preparations for a summer reading program called Stories Galore & Me. The family-and-adult literacy program is run in six parks and in three different communities, by two volunteers! Last summer the program had an average of 270 people a week attending.

Barb is one of 102 literacy outreach coordinators making a difference in people’s lives. They build strong individuals, strong families and strong communities.

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