JOPLIN, MO – A Joplin organization that’s helped thousands of people learn to read is celebrating a milestone.
But it also needs help continuing its mission.
Four decades ago, Joplin NALA, which is short for Neighborhood Adult Literacy Action, started in someone’s house, before eventually ending up at 123 S Main Street.
This is the organization’s 5th home, but in the 40 years they’ve been open, they’ve only had three directors.
The first was Geraldine Brackett, followed by Dr. Marj Boudreaux, who still volunteers for NALA, who was followed by current executive director, Grace Clouse, who says NALA does a lot more than just teaching people to read, or English as a second language.
All of which are offered free of charge.
“So we offer tutoring and classes in English, uh reading, math, uh we also work with students working towards their high school equivalency, um and we work with AEL uh for that program, we in the last couple of years have started financial literacy, computer literacy and health literacy programs.” Says Clouse.
Joplin NALA is a United Way Partner Agency, and helps as many as 150 people a year with their literacy related services.
How many individuals they can help is often dependent upon the number of volunteers willing to donate their time.
“We have students and tutors who don’t meet anymore, they’ll connect on a regular basis, they email back and forth, maybe they meet at the park and catch up on their families, our students are adults so they’re people with children and jobs and lives and so having that connection of a peer who is an equal to them is really important.” Says Clouse.
She says the agency will have a formal 40th anniversary later this summer.
If you’d like to learn more about Joplin NALA Read, or would like to donate or become a volunteer, check out the link below.