By Justin C. Wenner, CPESC, Project Designer, Energy Division
The reason why I support the Lycoming County United Way and lead the campaign here in Larson Design Group’s Williamsport office is simple. The United Way provides funding to numerous local organizations offering crucial human services to folks right here in our home region. These program partners are far reaching, and provide services to folks who do not outwardly appear to need help. Every day, without knowing it, we cross paths with people who have benefited from the United Way.
One of the United Way-funded organizations I’ve gotten to know is the Learning Center, located at the James V. Brown Library in Williamsport. Did you know that currently, in Lycoming County, one of five adults does not have the literacy skills to fully function in society? That is a staggering statistic. The Learning Center is a state-certified adult basic education provider, working to equip our County’s adults (16 years of age or older, not currently enrolled in public school) with the basic literacy skills they need to be better family members, workers, and community participants. The services offered by the organization are free of charge and include one on one tutoring, small group studies, math and writing assistance, a comprehensive computer lab, GED classes, English as a second language classes, and workplace skills programs. The Learning Center serves a variety of students: workers seeking to learn new on the job skills, parents who want to have the reading and writing skills to help their children in school, adults who do not read and write at a 5th grade level, foreign language speaking adults who want to learn English, and those preparing for driver’s license exams, college entrance exams, GED exams, or armed forces exams.
While attending a meeting at the Learning Center, I sat and spoke with a woman, looking just like everyone else, who regretfully had to drop out of high school and later found herself stuck in an abusive marriage. She removed herself and her children from that situation, but as a result had to basically start over from scratch. She ended up earning her GED, enrolling in college, and finding work as an early education teacher’s aide, all because she was determined to improve herself. Luckily, the Learning Center was there to help her focus that determination and encourage her further success. This is not a lone success story; there are pictures of faces on the wall of the classroom, too many to count…all of them had their lives changed by the United Way.
Organizations like this help to improve the standard of living around us. Please research some of the Lycoming County United Way’s other program partners by using the following link: http://lcuw.org/who-we-help/. And please join me in changing lives and making our community a better place to live.
Williamsport is one of LDG’s 10 offices in four states which collectively support United Way campaigns in Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.