Here We Go- 2013 Silent Auction Preview

I have had the joy of working closely with some of you already, but for those of you who don’t know who I am please allow me to introduce myself.  I am Amanda Terrell and I’ve been working as the FLC’s Event Coordinator Intern since August 2012. My primary focus has been assisting in planning the 29th annual Florida Literacy Conference as well as working on our very successful Tutor Symposium sessions held last November and handling tutor training material requests. As conference approaches, I am getting more and more excited about our silent auction. I want to share SOME of the MANY items we will have up for bidding during Conference!

  • Admission tickets into Florida’s most exciting attractions, including: Walt Disney World, Great Explorations Children’s Museum (1 year membership!), Orlando City Soccer, Wonderworks, Central Florida Zoo, Bush Gardens, SeaWorld Orlando, and Kennedy Space Center. Make a family fun day out of any of these auction items!
  • Two round-trip tickets to anywhere in the continental U.S. that Southwest flies. There are no blackout dates and checking luggage is always free with Southwest! Go ahead and plan that trip you have always wanted take and plan it on your time.
  • One night deluxe accommodations gift certificate to the beautiful JW Marriott in Orlando, Florida. This could make a perfect get away weekend where you could pamper yourself and whoever else you enjoy spending your time with!
  • Gift cards and gift certificates to a number of places, including: Staples, Billy’s Bike Rentals, the KeyWest Express Cruise, The Florida Orchestra, The Florida Aquarium, and The Dali Museum.

All proceeds from the silent auction will help FLC support community based literacy organizations with their training and program development needs. The auction will be open for bids beginning Wednesday, May 8 at 8:30am and will close on Thursday, May 9 at 3:10pm.

Besides the items aforementioned, we will have many more fabulous gifts to bid on so be sure to stop by the silent auction tables and bring back something for your loved ones!

Do you or someone you know have something to donate for our silent action? Don’t fret! We are always happy to accept items for the silent auction! Please email me at and I will be sure to get your item in for bidding!

“The Daughter” A poem from the 2013 Adult Learner Essay Book

Since April is poetry month, we are featuring a poem that will be published in the 2013 Essay Book, “Believing That You Can”. The essay book will debut at the Annual Meeting on Thursday, May 9 during the Florida Literacy Conference.


The Daughter

A baseball star always crowded by many friends,

A Fashion student always dressed to impress.

Both had Dreams set so up high,

yet habits they couldn’t control.

They Crossed paths and a month later they got the news.

A Daughter to call their own, Half of him and half of her.

The happiest day of their lives,

When they heard their little bundle start her first cries.

Still their dreams vanished, disappeared.

Lives crumbling down slowly, but surely,

They just couldn’t take control.

Their child would take on becoming something more than they had become

Shoving their hopes and dreams down her throat every chance they could.

Not knowing the pressure they put on her

would also tempt her and she would fall astray.

Feeling the pain flowing through her veins,

Their broken hearts and failed dreams.

They say it was never supposed to be this way.

Now 20 years later, a life of her own.

She cautiously looks back at her past mistakes and regrets.

Remembering her parents suffering,

with tears sliding down her cheek,

She whispers to herself: “I will not fail, I will not suffer

I will not continue to follow their footsteps.

I will be true to myself.”

Alexandra Hernandez is a 20 year old student. She was born in Arlington, Virginia. She now resides in Miami and is an ABE/GED student in Ms. Arriete’s class at The English Center, Miami, Florida.


Call for Guest Bloggers

Attention conference attendees:

Don’t just come to the 2013 Florida Literacy Conference; share your thoughts, impressions, and take-aways with your and FLC’s community! Whether you’re coming to the 2013 Florida Literacy Conference to attend sessions, exhibit products and services, or present your own, FLC is inviting guest bloggers to help contribute content before, during, and/or after the event.

You might want to consider becoming a guest blogger if:

  • you enjoy writing/ are a writer
  • you have previous experience blogging OR have always wanted to try it
  • you like to share your thoughts with others whom share your passion for literacy
  • you need to put aside that half-finished novel you’ve been working on

You might not want to consider becoming a guest blogger if:

  • you’re not attending the conference
  • you have cyberphobia, or the fear of computers
  • you didn’t read this blog entry

By now you’re probably wondering how to go about fulfilling this desire to blog, so here’s how to get started: Simply write an email expressing your interest to blog during the Florida Literacy Conference to John Sanchez,, by Monday, April 29th. After receiving your email, you will be asked several questions about your previous experience, when you’d prefer to blog, and how often you’d prefer to contribute, etc.

We welcome any and all attendees to take advantage of this opportunity, especially because the more you collect your thoughts during the conference, the more likely you’ll be able to recollect what you learned after you’ve returned home. When you think about it that way, blogging is not only a great way to share what you’ve learned; it’s also the teach-back method at work!

Financial Literacy Track Preview: Denise Smalls- Income or Wealth?

How many of you are working for income or wealth?  What is the difference?  Income is today and wealth is tomorrow.  One of the ways to accumulate wealth is to start saving for a retirement fund.  Are you currently saving for retirement?  If so, are you saving enough to retire comfortably?

According to the Retirement Confidence Survey, only 66% of workers have saved money for retirement.  These numbers go down significantly for workers who make less than $35,000/year (24%).  A number of people live for today and handle tomorrow when it gets here.  However, these are the same individuals who do not have enough money to pay for both medical and housing expenses.  Are you depending on Social Security to help you with tomorrow?  What happens if social security changes the way it provides funds in the future?  Could this change reduce the amount of money you will need to live on tomorrow?  Let’s say that Social Security does not change and you will receive the same amount that a retiree is getting today, is that enough to live on?  Why don’t you go ask a couple of our seniors who are currently living on Social Security alone and find out how comfortable they are living?

Saving for retirement is a good first step but you have to do more.  You have to determine how much money you will need to save before you can retire. More than 50% of workers, according to the Retirement Confidence Survey, do not know how much money they will need to have to retire.  It is equally important to know if you are on the right track with your retirement goals.  How will you pay for medical expenses?  How will you pay for housing and food expenses?  Do you want to travel or visit your potential grandchildren?  Do you want to spend time playing golf, tennis or bingo?  Do you want to volunteer or work part time?  There are so many decisions that have to be made and while you can’t foresee the future you can definitely plan for it.

There are numerous calculators on the Internet that can help you make a determination on how much money is needed for retirement.  One such calculator is from CNN Money and AARP also has a good retirement calculator

For more information on retirement and other money management questions, feel free to come to the Money $ense classes where we speak about the above issues as well as how to build and/or fix credit, how to get a free credit report, how to create a spending plan and what are the advantages of using a financial institution.  The class schedule is located at  Go to the bottom of the page for financial programs and select Money $ense class schedule.

Are you working for income or wealth?  Why don’t you use the income you are making to achieve the wealth you want?  How do you accomplish this goal, come to the Money $ense class to find out.

Employee Benefit Research Institute. (2013). Preparing for Retirement in America.  2013 RCS Fact Sheet #3.  Retrieved from

Do you have your ticket to Florida Literacy Awards Banquet yet?

2012 awards winners compressed

The Florida Literacy Awards Banquet is on Thursday, May 9 from 6:30-8:30. The banquet is a time to relax with peers as we highlight the many accomplishments in literacy over the past year. Awards will are given to adult learners, literacy practitioners, literacy programs, volunteers, and business partners. The awards that will be given include: the Mary J. Brogan Leadership Award, Flight for Freedom Award, Outstanding Literacy Volunteer Award, Excellence in Education Award, and Outstanding Business Partner Award. Author Angela Lane will be the keynote speaker for this inspiring night.

It’s not too late to reserve your spot!

For more information or to register for the event, please contact Amanda Terrell (

Health Literacy and Sunscreen: The Important Letters to Know

Especially in Florida, summertime means sunscreen season.  It’s important to protect your skin when you’re outdoors, as well as knowing how to pick the correct sunscreen and how to apply it.  According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there are a few basics that you, your students, and their families need to know.

Always read sunscreen labels, and only use products that offer:

  • Broad-spectrum coverage (label may say “broad spectrum,” “protects against UVA/UVB” or “UVA/UVB protection”).
  • SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Water resistance.

Main messages to get across to students-

1.  Apply sunscreen (absolute minimum SPF 15) at least 15 minutes before you go outside.

2.  Re-apply sunscreen every two hours when outdoors.

3.  Use plenty of sunscreen to obtain maximum protection.  This is usually one ounce for the entire body, or the amount that can fill one shot glass.

3.  Whenever your shadow appears to be shorter than you are, find shade.

4.  It’s not just about sunscreen.  Wear protective clothing, including long sleeves, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.

5.  Avoid the sun between 10 A.M. and 2 P.M. if possible.

April Returns as Financial Literacy Month

After doing some research on Financial Literacy Month, I’ve concluded that this post may be a week late but it is still quite necessary. There simply isn’t much information out there other than the standard April-is-Financial-Literacy-Month article. That’s a good first step, but often these articles don’t provide any sort of information to improve a reader’s money management skills- just short bits to ‘increase awareness’. If this was a discussion on social media strategies, I’d say that this type of article doesn’t do enough to make the reader get to that next level of involvement; I digress. Without any further advocacy ado, I assure you April is Financial Literacy Month.

Sadly, a majority of us have not been taught how to manage our finances responsibly, which can lead to dangerous financial decisions. It was reported that in 2012, only 13 states required students to take a course on personal finance. Teaching the basics of financial literacy is vital to give low-income adults the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty, especially considering that most of our adult learners have had less schooling than their credentialed counterparts, who themselves most likely have not received formal financial education lessons. That’s why financial literacy has been given its own month, because more needs to be done.

When it comes to being involved with a literacy-based organization, we all learn to work with what we’re given, and we learn to make it work. Naturally, the same can be said for incorporating financial literacy lessons for adult learners. As mentioned earlier, although you may have heard about Financial Literacy Month before, chances are you weren’t given any resources to help improve your money management skills. It becomes evident when searching for financial literacy resources targeted towards adult learners or ESOL students that this can be an even more challenging endeavor than searching for information accessible to the native speaker. So, to help you in your quest for financial literacy resources, I leave you with some resources for your perusal.

  • Financial Literacy Month by Money Management International Geared towards the apple pie loving American, this site provides daily steps towards becoming financially responsible complete with tons of resources from which to choose.
  • Financial Literacy Lesson Plans Want to know what to consider as you’re making a lesson plan for financial education? Check out this article for some insights.
  • Financial Literacy Lessons for ESL Students Here are some already created lessons for you to use with your adult learners, brought to you by San Diego Centers for Education & Technology.
  • Financial Literacy Video Games for Adult Learners Want to mix up your financial literacy lesson? Choose from “Taking a Bite Out of Debt and Spending” or “Rooting Out the Killer Bunnies” which your students can learn while they play a video game!

    *Warning- If you are a Vampire enthusiast, frustration may ensue from the former of the two games due to the flawed logic that Vampires would safely be able to transport to a “Day Club” without dying from the sunlight.*

  • Alley Wallet Wise The financial literacy program affiliated with Alley Bank offers free online courses which cover banking, budgeting, credit scores, and more.

Literacy Awards Banquet Keynote: Angela Lane

angelalaneMiami native, Angela Lane, grew up in Miami-Dade County, Florida, “in a world of endless possibilities limited only by self.”  The daughter of a Pentecostal minister, Ms. Lane traces some of her writer’s inspiration back to the sights and sounds in her father’s small church.  She explains, “I’m convinced that we are a product of our environment; it’s just that mine incorporated fantasy and faith.”

Ms. Lane’s debut picture book, Mommy, There’s A Giraffe in My Room!, was featured at the 2007 Miami Book Fair International and honored with a spot on the Florida Department of Education summer reading list, Just Read Florida! 2009.

Ms. Lane also serves as a legislative assistant to Florida State Representative Kionne McGhee, she writes and acts in contemporary stage plays, and she shares her love of books with young students on school visits.

The mother of three children, Ms. Lane lives in Miami with her husband, Robert.

For more information on the Florida Literacy Conference and the Awards Banquet, please visit our website.


Welcome to the South Seas Island Resort!

SSIR Logo_1On behalf of the entire staff of South Seas Island Resort, I want to welcome those of you that will be joining us for the 29th Annual Florida Literacy Conference being held at South Seas on beautiful Captiva Island, Florida, May 7, 2013 to May 10, 2013.

What can you expect from your trip to South Seas?  Relaxation and rejuvenation. 

Aerial Shot LOW RESSouth Seas is a sprawling tropical oasis, 330 acres and 2.5 miles long, framed by the tranquil blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Pine Island Sound.  It’s best to think of South Seas as its own little village, consisting of two major areas: South Village and North Pointe.

South Village is where you’ll find your meeting rooms for the event, main reception center for check-in, your accommodations (Beach, Tennis and Bayside Villas), Chadwick’s Square for shopping and spa services (Starbucks in the morning, anyone?), tennis, and one of our staffed beach areas, South Beach.  Each of the villa areas has its own pool and SouthBeach has chairs, towels and umbrellas available during the day.  All of these areas are within easy walking distance to each other.

About 1 mile away is North Pointe, where you’ll find the Resort Pool Complex (featuring H2Whoa! waterslides), the Yacht Harbour, golf course, Harbourside Bar & Grill (serving Fish Market Cuisine nightly), Scoops & Slices (serving pizza, ice cream and a wall of candy), and my favorite spot, Sunset Beach.  Sunset Beach is our main beach area where we have Sunset Beach Bar, Sunny Island Watersports, a volleyball net, chairs, towels and umbrellas.  We have live music from 5pm – 8pm nightly and just as the sun sets each night, we have a special ceremony on the beach.

T DockMoving between SouthVillage and North Pointe is easy.  We have a trolley service that runs continuously for all guests from 7am – 11pm, and bikes and golf carts are available for rent.  There will be a dedicated trolley for the FL Literacy Coalition during peak event times as well.  One of the best deals on the property is at check in when you’ll be asked if you’d like to rent a bike during your stay.  It’s only $5 per bike, per day, and you rent it for the duration of your stay, versus $15 per bike, per day if you elect to rent a la carte.  It’s a great way to travel throughout Captiva and South Seas at your own pace.

If you would like to learn more about South Seas, I encourage you to visit,, or follow us on twitter and instagram @SSIslandResort.  We look forward to seeing you in May.


Daniel Smock
Communication Manager, South Seas Island Resort

Zach Lynn on the 10th annual Literacy Leadership Institute

Zach Lynn

Zach Lynn

If there’s one thing about the Florida Literacy Coalition that stands out above all others, it’s their commitment to sharing information and helping their friends get better at what they do.  I was recently given the opportunity to attend Florida Literacy Coalition’s 10th Annual Leadership Institute—and they sure did share a lot!

From volunteer management to developing funds, from best practices to new GED standards, I came back to the Adult Literacy League with pages of notes and handouts.  Our staff and volunteers are very keen on professional development and staying up with the current trends, so everyone was very appreciative of all the information I passed along.  Our Executive Director loves to hear anything from the amazing Neil Sturomski, our Development Director got some tips and tricks about fund cultivation, and our social media volunteers are starting to understand how we could use Pinterest in our communications plan.

But some of the most pertinent information was about the new 2014 GED—which will revolutionize how we serve our students.  We currently offer four free classes a week for GED Preparation and see an average of 5-6 students per class.  As they work hard to study up on some difficult subjects, they now see an even more difficult deadline because the test will change in January 2014. And we’ll have to change with it.

The new 2014 GED will be all computer-based.  Luckily we have an upgraded mobile laptop computer lab, but we’ll need to also upgrade how we teach.  Passing along information from the Leadership Institute has sparked ideas and creativity from our current GED instructors, who are thinking of ways to incorporate technology into their lessons.  Information and resources from the Leadership Institute have been a very nice start to this process, and I know the Florida Literacy Coalition will be there to share more information and continue to help us get better at what we do!

Zach is the Volunteer Coordinator with the Adult Literacy League