- In FY2012, FLC VISTA’s raised $64,803.54 in cash resources
- FLC VISTAs are responsible for setting up a computer lab at two partner sites in FY 2012
- FLC VISTA’s recruited 290 community volunteers throughout the state
- 83% of students report gains in employment after participating in projects coordinated by FLC VISTAs
- The VISTA at Family Literacy Academy of Immokalee organized donations for their annual fundraiser that totaled over $6,000
It was a job he almost turned down because there just wasn’t any profit to be made…But on that morning in 1992, twenty-nine year old painting contractor, Nelson Lauver began his day on this particular job: painting parking lot lines at a local car dealership.
Nelson created his small line painting business because he wasn’t qualified for other types of work. He didn’t have the literacy skills to fill out a job application. As a young boy, Nelson fell through the cracks of an educational system that was ill-prepared to deal with a student who couldn’t learn like all the rest.
Nelson was socially promoted and actually graduated from high school (104 out of a class of 104) receiving a diploma he struggled to read. He knew he was different…he just didn’t know why.
On this particular day, though, a chance encounter would change Nelson’s life.
A gentleman approached Nelson and asked him for directions to a local greenhouse. Nelson stopped his work to explain the directions. But the man wanted more. He wanted Nelson to write them down. He pulled out a pad and pen and handed it to Nelson, who struggled and tried to draw a crude map. Again, now more insistently, Nelson repeated the directions. Finally, the man took back the pad and pen and asked Nelson point blank, “You can’t read and write, can you?”
After an entire lifetime of struggle to hide his literacy issues, Nelson finally admitted his secret to this stranger, “Sir, you are correct.” This “stranger” just happened to be a professor at Penn State University. He asked Nelson to sit down and talk with him for a moment. For the very first time, Nelson heard the word “dyslexia.” Their conversation lasted an hour and a half.
For the first time ever, Nelson had a name for his mysterious problem and he also had hope–hope that he might finally be able to change his life for the better.
On the advice of the professor, Nelson sought assistance from the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. He was tested, and a dyslexia diagnosis was confirmed. With the help of Vocational Rehabilitation, Penn State University, and a reading tutor–18 months later–Nelson Lauver was able to read and write and start his new life.
“It’s still hard to believe. That professor could have stopped and asked anyone for directions…but he approached me. Why?”
Today Nelson is an acclaimed author, broadcast journalist, speaker, humorist, and education rights advocate. He shares his story as a way of helping others reach their maximum potential.
Nelson is known to radio listeners across the country for “The American Storyteller Radio Journal,” a daily 4-minute slice of the American experience, broadcast from 2001 to 2010.
2011 marked the release of Nelson’s award winning memoir, Most UnLikely to Succeed – an inspirational story of hope and determination against seeming insurmountable odds.
The more than 300 stories from The American Storyteller, have become more than just a source of entertainment, they have become a valuable tool in ESL and adult literacy across the globe.
“I certainly recognize the irony. There I was, the kid who couldn’t read and write, and now my stories are helping people all over the globe with reading and writing.
Welcome to Sanibel and Captiva!
These islands, which lie off the coast of western Florida, near the city of Fort Myers, were formed by the prevailing currents in the Gulf of Mexico about 6,000 years ago. Sanibel and Captiva are best known today for world-famous shelling, wildlife-watching and natural beaches.
But the area has shared a rich history with the Calusa Indians who arrived 2,500 years ago. The first modern settlement on Sanibel was established by the Florida Peninsular Land Company in 1832. The company began marketing Sanibel as a planned community that would “become the garden of Florida.” A few pioneers began planting sugar cane, pineapple, pumpkins, melons, corn, sisal and hemp (both used in the making of rope, hammocks and nets). Many turned to farming, in particular tomato growing. With a nine month growing season, October to June, tomatoes became a huge export from Sanibel.
Tomatoes were exported by boat and train and were taken to cities throughout the east coast. Unfortunately, a hurricane in 1926 covered the island with salt water and destroyed the soil for farming.
By the early 1900′s Sanibel was on its way to being a prime destination for vacationers: wealthy families from the northeast. Sport fishing became popular and to some extent replaced farming. Some of the greatest tarpon fishing is just off shore from Sanibel.
In 1928 a ferry service began to and from the mainland. Henry Ford and Thomas Edison visited the island regularly looking for new plant species and shells for study and identification.
In May 1963 a causeway linking Sanibel and Captiva to the mainland was opened. The resulting explosion of growth led to islanders incorporating the City of Sanibel in order to control development in the interests of wildlife, the natural beauty of the island and its residents. The original causeway was replaced in 2007; and features a “flyover” span tall enough for sailboats to pass under, replacing the old bascule drawbridge span.
With increased visitors to the islands, conservation became an important issue. The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, which was established in 1945, is closely tied to the history of the conservation movement. J.N. Ding Darling, best known as an editorial cartoonist, came to Captiva Island in 1936 while serving as the head of the U.S. Bureau of Biological Survey under Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was passionate about conserving Sanibel and Captiva for their unique environments and wildlife.
Today the J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge consists of more than 6,400 acres of mangrove forest, submerged seagrass beds, cordgrass marshes, and West Indian hardwood hammocks. Approximately 2,800 acres of the refuge are designated by Congress as a Wilderness Area. It provides important habitat to more than 220 species of birds and welcomes thousands of visitors each year.
Many conservation efforts, including the “no live shelling law,” have helped Sanibel and Captiva islands earn their reputation as the “Shell Capital of the World.” Large parts of both islands are made out of shells. When dug, backyards yield conch, whelk, scallop and clam shells, often perfectly intact. The islands rank top for shelling because of geography. Sanibel and Captiva are among few barrier islands with an east-west orientation: most are north-south. Its alignment acts like a shovel scooping up seashells that the Gulf currents import from the Caribbean and further south. The resulting abundance and variety draws people from all over the world. Throughout the year, shell shops sell seashells and by the thousands. Shells are the dominant motif in island decor and boutique gifts.
Sanibel and its shells even made it into the Guinness World Records. Last year at the 75th annual Sanibel Shell Show & Fair, hundreds of locals and visitors came to Bowman’s Beach to break the world record for “largest treasure hunt game.” They showed the rest of the world their favorite shell-bent position, the “Sanibel stoop,” to hunt for sea shells.
The beaches on Captiva and Sanibel islands offer unrivalled space for families, walkers and fishermen to enjoy a climate that offers sun, sand and sea throughout the year. Sanibel and Captiva retain the charm and natural beauty that has always characterized the islands and makes it a unique visitor destination.
Florida Health Literacy Initiative
Florida Literacy Coalition (FLC) is proud to partner with Florida Blue to make available targeted grants to promote health literacy. The goal is to provide health-education resources for local adult English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and family literacy programs so that students in these programs can make informed choices about their health and nutrition.
Amount: Up to $5000
Deadline: March 19
Walmart Local Giving Program
Walmart is a global company, but we give back locally – right in the neighborhoods where we live and work. Through the Local Giving Program, Walmart stores, Sam’s Clubs and Logistics facilities can support the needs of their communities by providing Community Grants to local organizations. The Local Giving Program awards grants of $250-$5,000 through each of our Walmart stores, Sam’s Clubs and Logistics.
Deadline December 1, 2013
Enterprise Holdings Foundation
The Foundation provides charitable support to worthwhile, non-profit initiatives that are actively supported by the company’s employees, their spouses and loyal customers in the thousands of local communities where we operate. The Foundation also provides more sizable special grants to non-profit groups or causes of significant strategic or social importance to the company and its employees.
First time grants: $1,500
Deadline: March 1 and August 1, 2013
Dr. Phillips Charities
The primary focus of Dr. Phillips Charities is to respond to community needs in Orange and Osceola Counties. Proposals that address established areas of interest are given the highest priority. These include; education programs, children and youth services, cultural programs, health or rehabilitative programs and social services.
Deadlines: May 10 and September 13, 2013
Florida Humanities Council Mini Grants for Community Organizations
FHC Awards mini grants (up to $2,000) that provide financial support for the planning and implementation of public humanities projects. Mini grant proposals are typically for small projects such as single events, lectures or panel discussions, reading and discussion groups, film series, and/or on-line resources which may include interpretive brochures, reading lists, audio/video recordings of scholar presentations, and classroom resources.
Deadline: March 1, June 3, Sept 3, 2013 at 4pm (EST)
Comerica Charitable Foundation
The Comerica Charitable Foundation regularly reviews needs in each of our geographic focus areas (Texas, Michigan, California, Arizona, and Florida) to ensure grant allocations are directed to support the most critical needs in our communities. Our giving priorities include economic self-sufficiency (financial literacy, job readiness, etc.), education (financial literacy programs for k-12 and adults), access to health care (preventative care for the uninsured and under-insured), and programs supporting diversity and inclusion.
Applications accepted January 1- March 15, 2013
The mission of the Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation is to maintain a spirit of volunteerism and philanthropy as defining characteristics of Darden Restaurants. The Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation carries out this mission by focusing its philanthropic efforts on access to postsecondary education, preservation of natural resources, and good neighbor grants.
Deadlines: January 1, April 1, August 1 and October 1
Southwest Florida Community Foundation Community Impact Grant
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation seeks to be a responsive and proactive community partner that works strategically to address existing and emerging community needs through our competitive grants program. Applicants must be located in and primarily serve residents of Lee, Charlotte, Hendry, Glades, and Collier counties. Organizations based in Collier County must also serve at least one of the other four counties in order to be eligible. In the Community Impact Grant Cycle, SWFLCF provides grants of up to $25,000 to organizations in five different program areas: Animal Welfare, Community Development, Education, Healthcare and Human Services.
Deadline: May 2013
Gulf Coast Community Foundation
The six regional priority areas for Gulf Coast’s grants process are revitalize and diversify the regional economy, provide a competitive workforce, strengthen social service delivery, leverage and coordinate the arts, develop social and civic capacity and manage environmental assets. Leveraged and Transformative grants are more than $10,000 will clearly target important regional challenges or opportunities, utilize creative approaches, and provide measurable data to assess their impact. Community grants are $10,000 or less and help nonprofits take on projects that have a positive impact on the community.
Deadlines for Leveraged and Transformative Grants: April 23, 2013
Community grants: Rolling basis
Community Foundation of Tampa Bay
The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization which administers funds established by individuals, corporations, private foundations, and nonprofit organizations to support the charitable needs of the Tampa Bay area. Program interests of the Foundation include arts and culture, community development, education, emergency services, environment and animals, and health and human services.
Maximum Award: $7,500
Deadline: March 1 and September 1, 2013
Community Foundation of South Lake
Proposals for grants should value South Lake County, Florida, have a strong quality of planning, leadership, support and vision and the nonprofit must demonstrate financial stability. The Foundation supports education, health and wellness, and community development projects.
Deadline: March 29, 2013
Attention! Attention! Award nominations are due in TWO WEEKS! Do you have someone you want to be recognized for their noteworthy accomplishments and achievements at Conference? Nominate them for their great work. The deadline is: MONDAY, MARCH 11, 2013. Submit a Nomination Now!
Your selected nominee can be nominated for any of the following awards:
Individual Award Categories
Outstanding Literacy Volunteer Award- honors a literacy volunteer who has demonstrated exceptional service and commitment in either tutoring or program operations. This award may be given as recognition for a specific outstanding achievement or for ongoing exceptional service. The recipient will receive a $100 gift certificate from New Readers Press.
Mary J. Brogan Leadership Award- Recognizes a Florida resident whose support of literacy exhibits the highest standards of excellence, dedication, leadership, creativity, and accomplishment. The recipient will receive a $100 gift certificate from New Readers Press.
Flight for Freedom Award- honors an adult student who has demonstrated exceptional accomplishment in improvement of literacy or leadership skills within literacy. The adult student must currently be tutored by a literacy volunteer, enrolled in an adult education program (GED, ESL, Workplace Literacy, etc.), or be a former student who was enrolled in a program within 6 months of the nomination submission. The recipient of this award will receive two complimentary round-trip airline tickets from Southwest Airlines.
Organizational Award Categories
Excellence in Education Award- honors an organization demonstrating achievement, innovation, leadership or organizational excellence in support of adult and family literacy education in Florida. Eligible organizations include community-based volunteer literacy programs, local educational agencies, and institutional literacy programs. The recipient of this award will receive a $100 gift certificate from New Readers Press.
Outstanding Business Partner Award- honors a company or business partner for leadership or significant contributions in support of literacy at the local, regional or state level. Nominees may have established a literacy program in the workplace or shown leadership in supporting community adult education, literacy or family literacy activities. Example areas of support may include, but are not limited to providing: grants/financial contributions, volunteers, space for training/tutoring, in-kind donations, or publicity and media coverage.
The perks of being an award recipient:
- Each award recipient will receive two complimentary tickets to the Awards Banquet on May 9th at the Florida Literacy Conference in Captiva, Florida.
- Each award winner’s affiliated organization will also receive a reduced conference registration rate of $75, which is transferable to anyone in the organization, as well as one free Awards Banquet ticket.
The Florida Literacy Coalition would like to thank Southwest Airlines and ProLiteracy for their generous donations and continuous support.
For more information, contact Amanda Terrell at email@example.com, or call (407)246-7110 ext. 210
Thank you to everyone who submitted a proposal to present at the 2013 Florida Literacy Conference. I was extremely impressed by the number of proposals that we received, and their overall quality. After reading each submission, I was inspired by the dedication and thought that went into each and every proposal. I am confident that Conference attendees will have an opportunity to learn from some very knowledgeable and devoted practitioners at this year’s event. Conference participants will have the opportunity to attend sessions within the following 14 tracks:
Volunteers in Literacy
Adult Basic Education, GED, and Adult High School
For those of you that have been eagerly awaiting the announcement of the sessions for this year’s Conference, a preliminary list can be found here. More information about the specific and dates and times of the sessions will be available at the beginning of March. See you in Captiva!
Don’t miss your opportunity to attend these important events hosted by the Florida Literacy Coalition! In the coming months, we are offering a variety of trainings such as the 10th Annual Literacy Leadership Institute and the Train the Tutor Trainer Course. The registration deadlines are fast approaching, so reserve your spot today!.
March 11- Florida Literacy Award Nominations Due
March 15- Train the Tutor Trainer Applications Due
March 19- Health Literacy Grant Application Due
Florida Blue and the Florida Literacy Coalition are pleased to continue the Florida Health Literacy Initiative, providing grants up to $5,000 to support health literacy in adult ESOL and family literacy programs.
Low health literacy costs between $106 to $236 billion a year in the form of longer hospital stays, emergency room visits, increased doctor visits, and increased medication, according to a recent report from the University of Connecticut. Adults with low literacy levels often fail to engage in early detection and preventive health care. They also have significant difficulties navigating the health care system and following their doctor’s treatment plans.
The Florida Health Literacy Initiative provides training, resources, and funding to assist Florida ESOL and family literacy programs to integrate health education into their instruction. The objective is to help students develop basic literacy and English language skills while gaining information to make informed choices regarding their health and nutrition.
Applicants must be nonprofit or government-based organizations providing adult ESOL and/or family literacy instruction in Florida. Services may be delivered via classes, small groups, and one-to-one tutoring.
Click here for the application and grant guidelines. Proposals must be received by March 19, 2013 by 5:00 pm.
A conference call will be conducted for prospective applicants on February 13, 2013 from 10 am to 11 am to provide an overview of the grant application and to answer questions. Participation is optional.
Dial-in Number: 1-800-930-8721
Access Code: 6577983
If you have any questions, please contact Maribeth Buie at 407-246-7110 ext. 209 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attention directors, program managers, and board members!
The 10th annual Literacy Leadership Institute will take place at the Hilton Altamonte Springs. This is an exciting professional development opportunity designed for directors, program managers, and board members of non-profit and library based adult and family literacy organizations.The Leadership Institute will feature of variety of expert speakers from around Florida. The topics addressed include:
- The New GED Test Series
- Fund Development
- Learning Disabilities
- Board Development
- Volunteer Recruitment and Retention
- Social Media
On top of all these wonderful presenters, attendees can get up to $350 in travel expenses reimbursed (restrictions apply)! Don’t miss your chance to attend this training. Sign up by March 1 in order to guarantee your spot.
When: March 21-22, 2013
Where: Hilton Altamonte Springs. Make your reservations online by March 1 to take advantage of the $99 group rate!
More information on the Leadership Institute and the registration form can be found here. If you have any questions please contact Jessica Ward, Education & Training Coordinator, at (407) 246 – 7110 ext. 203 or email@example.com.
This training opportunity is made possible by Florida’s Adult and Family Literacy Resource Center and funded through a grant from the Florida Department of Education, Division of Career and Adult Education.
We look forward to seeing you in March!
Buy 10 Get 1 FREE!
Yes! It is true! If you plan on sending ten (10) or more people from your organization to the Florida Literacy Conference, you will get one registration free! Registrations must be sent together. So, have one person collect all eleven (11) registrations, write a check for ten (10)! Or, collect all twenty-two (22) registrations, and write a check for twenty (20)!
If you’re a real super saver, then don’t forget, early bird registration ends March 8!
For more information about the conference, go to http://www.floridaliteracy.org/floridaliteracyconference.html