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Literacy Coalition News
January/February 2014



Syracuse Selected as Pacesetter for Community Effort to Promote Early Reading

Syracuse’s campaign to improve reading proficiency among its youngest students has been recognized as a 2013 Community Pacesetter by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, an honor that reflects the energy, mobilization and creativity that the local community has brought to this important work.

Ralph Smith, the senior vice president of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and managing director for the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, speaks with the Onondaga Citizen Leagues' Early Childhood Education Study Committee at ProLiteracy during his Oct. 23, 2013, visit to Syracuse. (Photo Credit: Charles Wainwright)

“As a community, we recognize the huge importance of making sure that all of our children are reading on grade-level by the end of 3rd grade,” said Sharon Contreras, Superintendent, Syracuse City School District. “This is not a school district initiative, but rather a community based-project with broad support from our political and civic leaders, as well as community members at large.  I commend the efforts of the team that made this recognition a reality and commit to dedicating all necessary resources to ensure that our collective vision of 100% Literacy through 100% Community Engagement is realized."

This national recognition honors communities for exemplary work tackling the challenges that keep children from learning to read.  While Pacesetters still have much work to do, their efforts provide other communities with promising models to replicate as well as inspiration for working towards creative solutions.  Read more about this work through the following:

P-S Article:  “Syracuse named a 'pacesetter' for child literacy”

P-S Editorial:  “Want to turn around the community? Let's hit the books”

P-S Op-Ed: “Literacy efforts in Onondaga County are building momentum”

Literacy Volunteers of Greater Syracuse (LVGS) changes its name to LiteracyCNY

Literacy Volunteers of Greater Syracuse is changing its name to LiteracyCNY to better reflect its mission as a provider of adult education and to raise awareness of adult illiteracy in Central New York.
The organization was founded in 1962 by Syracuse resident Ruth Colvin. Colvin pioneered many of the instructional methods used to teach adults how to read. Colvin, now 97, supports the new name as a symbol of an organization adapting to change. "We're on our way onward and upward,'' she said Thursday at a meeting of the editorial board of Syracuse Media Group.
Part of the new name is the tagline, "transforming lives, strengthening communities.'' Adults who learn to be proficient at reading are better able to compete for jobs, help their children succeed at school, navigate the legal and health care systems and participate in civic life, said Marsha Tait, executive director.  Read more.

Syracuse Rotary Grants Announced – Over $25,000 Awarded to Local Non-Profits

Syracuse Rotary Club President, Gary Wilson, and Syracuse Rotary Foundation President, Bob Pickett, recently announced the 2013-14 Syracuse Rotary grants, funded by the Syracuse Rotary Foundation.  Carrying on a long tradition of service to the community, Syracuse Rotary’s most recent grant awardees include 14 local non-for-profit agencies reflecting a variety of community needs, including $2,000 to support Syracuse’s Imagination Library Program.  Rotary clubs and districts across the country are encouraged to support literacy through Imagination Library.

Gloryann Torres reads an Imagination Library book to her 2-year-old daughter, Alondra Mendez-Torres, in the living room of their home on Rowland Street in Syracuse. (Photo Credit: PS-Mike Greenlar).

Established in 1912 as the 42nd Rotary Club in the International Association of Rotary Clubs, The Rotary Club of Syracuse proudly celebrated its centennial on May 30, 2012. Rotary Club of Syracuse slogans include “Committed to Literacy” and “Syracuse: the Literacy Capital of the World.”  Learn more about the Syracuse Rotary Club and the other 13 grant awardees in the February 21, 2014 issue of the Syracuse Rotary Press. Learn more.

James Walsh, Neil Murphy, Catherine Richardson Named Co-Chairs of New Commission

The Commission on Local Government Modernization, has launched a comprehensive study of government structure in Onondaga County in an effort to provide better services more efficiently to the community.

"Our local governments face a serious set of challenges," said Robert Simpson, president, CenterState CEO. "Onondaga County has nearly double the national average of local government entities, per capita, and it’s not sustainable. Establishing a commission on government modernization will allow us to explore a wide range of solutions to make government easier to use, more responsive, more cost effective, provide better services, and ultimately achieve better outcomes."

The effort, called Consensus, will be led by Neil Murphy, who most recently served as president of SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry; Catherine Richardson a retired attorney with the firm Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC.; and former Congressman James Walsh. Read more.


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