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Parkway Program Receives National Recognition for Work with Volunteers

Parkway Area Adult Education and Literacys success in involving volunteers to supplement the work of paid teachers in English-as-a-second-language (ESL) classes has earned it a role in a national project funded by The UPS Foundation and ProLiteracy America, the U.S. program of ProLiteracy Worldwide. During the next 18 months, Parkway Area Adult Education and nine other adult education and literacy programs will share their exemplary experiences to create a promising practices guide that will help publicly-funded adult education programs recruit, manage, and support volunteers. The guide will be distributed nationally. "Adult education programs are being asked to serve greater numbers of low-level ESL students than ever before, and they are looking for strategies to help serve those adults who need to learn to understand, speak, read, and write English," said Peter Waite, executive director of ProLiteracy America. He pointed out that many adults spend months waiting for service and often are placed in large classes where they cant get the individualized practice they need to help them find and keep a job; communicate with their childrens schools; or do everyday tasks such as shop for groceries, take public transportation, or seek medical assistance. "Volunteers have long played a key role in adult education through their work with community-based organizations that provide services almost exclusively through volunteers. In addition, programs such as Parkway Adult Education are proving that the combination of paid staff and volunteers working together as a team can make a significant difference in publicly-funded programs," Waite noted. Parkway Area Adult Education and Literacy provides free GED/Basic skills and English as a Second Language classes to adults ages 16 and over. The federally and state funded program has over 42 locations in the school districts of Parkway, Pattonville, Hazelwood, Maplewood-Richmond Heights, Brentwood, Clayton and Ladue. The program serves over 4,000 students per year and earns funding based on students served and measured performance gains of those students. ProLiteracy America is the U.S. program of ProLiteracy Worldwide, the worlds largest organization of adult literacy programs. ProLiteracy represents 1,200 local program affiliates in all 50 states and 120 partner programs in 62 developing countries and provides them with the training, technical assistance, materials, and other support they need to provide one-on-one, small group, and classroom instruction in literacy and English as a second language to adults and their families. These affiliates and partners work with more than 350,000 adult literacy students each year. ProLiteracy Worldwide has its headquarters in Syracuse, N.Y. For more information, please visit www.proliteracy.org. The UPS Foundation develops and champions innovative solutions to social problems. It focuses its support on hunger, literacy, and volunteerism.