The Washington County Community Foundation approved $8,000 in matching funds for Washington County SOAR! Washington County SOAR! Adult & Family Literacy Program, which is committed to breaking the cycle of family illiteracy and to helping each individual reach his or her potential. SOAR! currently does not receive any state, federal or county funding. Most of SOAR’s funding is received from general donations from the community, fundraisers, and some grants.
“We are excited to be able to help SOAR! with their fundraising. This is an important service to our community. Increasing our literacy level is an important step in increasing our overall educational attainment in Washington County,” said WCCF Executive Director, Judy Johnson.
To address the increasing community problem of illiteracy, SOAR! provides individualized one-on-one tutoring to adults and family literacy strategies for youth. SOAR’s goals are to (1) increase the number of literate adult learners in Washington County and (2) increase the number of adult learners in Washington County who pass the GED or obtain new employment as a result of participating in the SOAR! program.
Since 2009, SOAR! has assisted over two-hundred adults and three thousand youth. In 2012, SOAR! assisted fifty-four adult students and over a thousand youth. Seven SOAR! students gained new employment and six passed the GED. That is a 500% increase in GED success and 66.6% increase in employment/promotion from the previous year.
“I am beyond excited to receive matching funds from the Foundation. This will help us out tremendously if people take advantage of the opportunity.” Erica Schmidt, SOAR! director said with a smile. “The board and I have had to make some difficult decisions concerning our budget,” Schmidt said. Due to budget constraints, The County was not able to provide funding for SOAR! in 2013. “SOAR! board members, supporters, and I are trying to reach more people with less funding. Student numbers are growing and I expect that trend to continue,” Schmidt continued.
Individuals, businesses or organizations can make a donation to SOAR! Checks may be made out to Washington County SOAR!, 1707 N. Shelby St.; Suite 107, Salem, IN 47167. Every dollar raised will be matched by the Foundation up to $8,000.