20 Years of HOPE!
By Harry Wilson
This year marks the 20th anniversary of HOPE Literacy, Inc.!
December 8, 2017
I’m giving thanks today as we have just celebrated Thanksgiving and head into the Christmas season. Literacy trainer and visionary, Cindy Harrison and I started HOPE in 1997 at Southwayside Baptist Church. 3 teachers and 5 students met in a little class room in the church youth building. With a grateful heart, I think about the 1,000 students who registered in our classes this Fall. This is the first time we have reached 1,000 on the roll!
On a weekly basis, that means that we reach out to a little over 600 students—adults with some of the toughest life circumstances and challenges—in our classes. We offer flexible, open classes where they can fit in their studies between work, family, and everything else that it takes to start a new life in a new country.
We give the complete credit and glory to God for the lives that have been touched through HOPE. It is God who has brought committed board members who give sacrificially of their time and generously of their treasure. He inspires our church partners to start HOPE sites and reach out into their neighborhoods. It is God who inspires the directors and teachers to serve and pour out their time and knowledge. And it is God who enables us to reach our students for Christ and help them excel in life.
Literacy in a Digital World
By Harry Wilson
November 16, 2017
What would it be like if you were dependent upon others to help you complete an online job application or view your child’s online school calendar? The internet is a great tool, and our phones hold many capabilities, but they raise new challenges for those who cannot read or understand the prompts and instructions. Literacy in the digital world was the theme for International Literacy Day 2017, and it highlighted the increased importance of having literacy skills in order to navigate digital technology.
“At record speed, digital technologies are fundamentally changing the way people live, work, learn and socialize everywhere. They are giving new possibilities to people to improve all areas of their lives including access to information; knowledge management; networking; social services; industrial production, and mode of work. However, those who lack access to digital technologies and the knowledge, skills and competencies required to navigate them, can end up marginalized in increasingly digitally driven societies. Literacy is one such essential skill. Just as knowledge, skills and competencies evolve in the digital world, so does what it means to be literate.” (International Literacy Day 2017 Web site)
Presently, there are approximately 750 million adults and 264 million out-of-school children who lack basic literacy skills. Our neighbors who do not have the literacy skills to access the ever-increasing world of technology face additional limitations. HOPE Literacy seeks to close the English literacy skills gap for our friends and neighbors and give them the tools to obtain their goals. We also have the privilege to present the One who is the author of all knowledge and wisdom, Jesus Christ.