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Community Digest

Southeast Area : Young Latino Tutors Sought for Area's Literacy Program

September 23, 1993

For more than 20 years, the South East Community Literacy Council's core group of literacy tutors has taught hundreds to read and write in English. They continued to teach as the community around them changed from a population that was 20% Latino to one that is now 90% to 95% Latino.

Now mostly in their 70s, the tutors are trying to recruit younger, Latino tutors who will be able to continue the program. "I know there'll come a time when we won't be able to hold on," said council President Leona McRoberts, 75, a literacy teacher for 22 years.

"This is hard to say, but the older people are going to die, and if they don't bring in younger people, there'll be no program," said Karen Kaye, field development director for California Literacy Inc., the nonprofit agency that oversees the council.

The South East Community Literacy Council received an $8,000 county grant in June, 1992, to help set up an office, buy books and materials, and conduct tutor training. In January, the group was assigned a bilingual Vista volunteer who will help with recruitment and act as a liaison to the community.

The recruitment drive has resulted in a 75% increase in students and volunteers, Stanley said, but soon the grant money will run out. "They need tutors and they need money," Kaye said.

The literacy council conducts classes at five locations throughout the Southeast area. Information: (213) 562-1040.

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