The Carlsbad Literacy Program opened its doors after being closed for over a year and sought tutors to help improve adult literacy in the community.
“We are an organization that is dedicated to raising the literacy rate in Eddy County and New Mexico as a whole,” said Executive Director of the CLP, Elizabeth Simonton.
The organization, also know as the Ann Wood Literacy Center, officially reopened at the beginning of July but did not have enough students or volunteers to begin tutoring according to Simonton.
Simonton said many of the people asking for tutoring are non-native speakers in search of English classes. The program previously offered these classes along with citizenship, computer literacy and GED prep classes and Simonton said she hoped to get them started again.
While some people expressed interest in joining classes, the CLP had difficulty getting tutors to join the program, Simonton said.
“There’s always going to be challenges finding tutors because it’s a volunteer position and not everyone has the means to volunteer their time,” Simonton said.
Simonton pointed to New Mexico’s poor rating in adult literacy as a motivator to get the program back up and running. New Mexico ranks 49 in adult literacy nationwide, just above Louisiana, according to a report from the National Center for Education Statistics.
The NCEA also found that 29 percent of Eddy County is bellow a Level 1 literacy rate. Simonton said she was concerned about how COVID-19 shutdowns and a lack of educational services may have affected those numbers.
Simonton said she hoped the organization could begin scheduling classes again and return to serving the community
Claudia Silva is a reporter from the UNM Local Reporting Fellowship. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at (575) 628-5506 or on Twitter @thewatchpup.