The Literacy Program of Santa Cruz County to Honor Long-Term Supporters

The Literacy Program of Santa Cruz County to Honor Long-Term Supporters
securedownloadOn Sunday, June 2nd, the Friends of Literacy will hold an Appreciation Day to honor the volunteers and donors who have dedicated themselves to the Literacy Program of the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County.  The event will be held at the Aptos home of Kirsti and Matt Scott.

More than 245 volunteers have served with the Literacy Program this year, including 193 volunteer tutors, who provide one-on-one and small group tutoring to Santa Cruz County adults who want to improve their English language reading, writing, and speaking.

“Tutoring is a very fulfilling way to give back to the community and we are very appreciative of our many dedicated volunteers. I am a tutor myself, and I have found the experience very rewarding”, states Anne Scott, chair of Friends of Literacy.

“We also depend on the community for financial support, and so in addition we are honoring our those who have made long-term DONATIONS AND pledges to the program”, said Scott.

Volunteer tutors make a one-year commitment to tutoring but many of the volunteers have been with the program for years.

“Four tutors who have been with the program for 14 years or more, and 37 tutors have volunteered for five years or more”, states Literacy Program Director Genie Dee.

Among those to be honored is Char Bridenbaugh, a retired School Teacher who has contributed her time, leadership, and knowledge for the last 15 years to the Literacy Program of the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County.

In this time she helped develop the volunteer tutor training model for the program, has guided the development of new curriculum and has touched the lives of more than 4,000 English as a Second Language students.

“After a long career of working with children, I felt working with adults would be a new challenge.  The Literacy Program provided a perfect way for me to continue my teaching”, states Bridenbaugh.

“Our tutors help students get by in their daily lives and also broaden their financial and social outlooks. Many students come to us because they were unable to discuss their child’s education with the teacher or talk to the doctor about health care concerns.  Given that 61% of our students have children in their home, this program provides the building blocks needed to change lives for generations to come”, states Literacy Program Director Genie Dee.

Since its inception in 1967, this free program has taught Nearly 11,000 individuals through one-on-one and group instruction. Students consistently rate 20% above state adult education goals.

“Last year, 79% of these students reported that they had received, retained or had been promoted at work as a result of their work with volunteer tutors to increase their reading, writing and speaking skills”, states Dee.

This year, volunteer tutors will provide over 11,500 hours of instruction to help break the cycle of illiteracy in Santa Cruz County for 300 students.

“Of course, none of our services are possible without our dedicated cadre of volunteer tutors and steadfast donors.  We are fortunate to work with such talented and giving individuals and we look forward to celebrating their efforts”, states Dee.

Aside from honoring the volunteers, Dee will provide an update on the program’s accomplishments so far for the year ending on June 30th, and also talk about the group’s plans to expand the program in the Watsonville area.

For more information, contact Genie Dee at 427-5077 or


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