The fishbowl meeting room on the first floor of the Wilson Building was packed, standing room only and crowds spilling out into hallways on both sides.
In celebration of Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, September 22-27, a coalition of more than 200 adult education providers and learners came together for a panel discussion and advocacy day at the DC Council’s offices to raise awareness and show community concern around adult literacy.
The panel represented different facets of the adult learner story. Kate Coventry of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute talked about safety net services such as TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), Rosa Goyes from Mary’s Center touched on the impact of literacy on healthcare, and Karla Quintanilla, a Carlos Rosario School graduate, shared her story of success as an adult learner who spoke no English when she first arrived in the US and is now gainfully employed and enrolled in college.
Following the panel, the adult learners met with council members and staff to share their stories. They highlighted ways their lives have changed since returning to their education: obtaining a GED diploma, learning how to use a computer, having skills to fill out an online a job application. The meetings also served as an opportunity to address challenges to adult education such as child care, learning disabilities, transportation and more.
Following the meetings, Adult and Family Literacy Coalition members asked each council member to sign a pledge to visit at least one adult education provider in their area.
Other events held in celebration of the Adult Education and Family Literacy Week included a panel exploring the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, and a Big Tent Meeting to reflect on the DC Adult and Family Literacy Coalition’s work throughout the year, to engage new committee members for the coming year, and to honor essay contest winners. The highlight of the Big Tent Meeting was hearing from contest winners, one of whom is a Carlos Rosario School student. To read her essay, click here.