Ashe Family Literacy, closed this fall for lack of funding, hopes to reopen in January program coordinator Beth Sorrell said Wednesday.
“It was no funding for child care, mainly,” said Sorrell, who has been with AFL since 2004.
In partnership with Wilkes Community College, Ashe Partnership for Children and Ashe Services for Aging, AFL has provided high school diploma and GED courses, English as a second language and parenting classes since 1998.
But, Sorrell said, “this fall was the first time we’ve had to close.”
The literacy program has four components: adult education instruction, early childhood instruction, parent and child interaction time and, parenting education.
The program’s ESL instruction, focused on proficiency in spoken a written English, serves immigrant workers — mostly women — who “have come here to work and have settled down,” she said.
The ability to provide child care services is crucial to AFL’s operations, Sorrell said. “We offer parent education for those who can’t work or go to school without child care.”
As a program of Wilkes Community College, AFL follows the school’s calendar, closing in May and reopening in the fall. But this fall, no funds were available for an early childhood educator, and none of the program’s participating agencies was able to provide for one.
The program formerly received funding from a U.S. Department of Education Even Start grant, but that program was dismantled two year ago, Sorrell said. “We pieced it together to run on leftover funding the past two years.”
Ashe Family Literacy is seeking $2,000 in tax-deductible contributions to pay a qualified professional to provide childcare and early childhood education, she said.
Ashe Family Literacy is held at Ashe Family Central. Classes are offered Tues-Thurs, 8:30-12:30 p.m. subject to availability of funds/volunteers for childcare. Classes are free and open to anyone in the community who needs them.