A local nonprofit that offers literacy services has received a grant that will help people reach their educational goals.
The Grove City Education Center for Adults was awarded a $4,000 grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.
Along with donations, money from the Grove City Area United Way, and state and federal funds, grants play an important role in the center’s operations.
“The community is very generous. It takes all of these things to keep us floating,” said Sandy Marwick, the center’s director, noting that the organization has a partnership with Butler County Community College.
Nearly a year ago, the center expanded its reach beyond Grove City to include Hermitage, Greenville, Farrell and Sharon.
The latest grant will buy four laptop computers and carrying cases for students who spend time at the Prince of Peace Center – the education center’s Farrell location.
The grant aims to support adult, family and summer literacy programs that are offered within a 20-mile radius of a Dollar General store or distribution center, according to a news release from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.
The agency awarded more than $200,000 in literacy grants to nonprofits, libraries and schools in Pennsylvania; that will benefit more than 10,000 residents.
Many of the students of the Grove City Education Center for Adults are working on their general education development with plans to move on to higher education or employment – two things that typically require the use of a computer for the application process.
“Computer literacy is very important,” Marwick said.
The center felt that it was necessary to get established in Farrell, which is a high-need area that is underserved when it comes to adult literacy programs.
The computers currently being used in Farrell are outdated, so Marwick is excited for laptops that will be able to support new software.
“The fact that they’re portable is just a bonus,” she said.
Also, the center held a two-month computer class that went well, and she is thinking about scheduling more sessions.
In other center offerings, an “English as a second language” course was held this spring. Marwick hopes to resume the class in the fall, when Slippery Rock University students studying that field return to campus. They can help the center with the class.
Marwick said she’s been getting a lot of calls about that class, and she’s trying to spread the word. There’s been interest from people who speak Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese, and more.
“We hope we reach the right people,” she said.
And the center is always looking for volunteers. Tutors who help students one-on-one must have four-year college degrees. Classroom aides do not need to have a degree.
The students come to the center with various reading levels and diverse goals. The center works on helping many of them get jobs with family-sustaining wages.
Marwick said it’s gratifying to help others, and she is so proud of the students, like one woman with three children who went on to nursing school.
“It’s pretty amazing,” she said.
The Grove City Education Center for Adults is at 118 S. Center St., Grove City. For more information, call 724-458-7270, visit www.gcedcenter.org or check out their Facebook page.