On Sunday the Literacy Council of Grand Island officially celebrated a string of new developments, from its recent rebranding to new employees.
“We officially launched everything at end of May, early June. In the spring is kind of when we made our splash, so to speak,” said Quinn Hullett, director of marketing and communications. “Then the website was official kind of late June, early July. But I knew we were going to have this open house later.”
Phillip Erb, board president, said having the open house was important. “There’s not always the chance to get here and see everything that’s going on. It’s an opportunity to get everybody together, talking about what’s going on and show off progress.”
The open house showcased the diversity of the people served by Literacy Council of Grand Island (LCofGI). Stations included a citizenship quiz game, henna tattoos and plenty of food prepared and purchased by students from LCofGI.
The citizenship quiz station could prove a challenge for just about anyone, Hullett said. “So many of our students come in wanting to become citizens, and the information that they have to know, I guarantee you, we might not know off the top of our heads. We wanted to put guests to the test today and see if they would be able to pass their own citizenship test.”
Another station fittingly showcased handwriting, Hullett said. “We have a student who has just the most beautiful handwriting, and he writes in Arabic very well. We were wanting to show off how to write in another language. It’s like a piece of art.”
Activities like those are part of what makes LCofGI, LCofGI.
“We wanted to add a little literacy council flair, in that we have some activities led by our students — as well as a couple of volunteers — to show what our students can do, and to also encourage members of community to get to know our students and realize that they’re really just people, they just happen to come from another country.”
Last year, LCofGI celebrated new facilities.
Hullett said this open house would be another way to show off the new building. “Just to be in this big space, to be able to offer those students what we have here with our programming is so amazing, because — it pains me to say it — but we would not be able to sustainably do what we do here back in our old location, or even prior locations from that, just given the rising need for literacy that we’ve seen,” Hullett said. “We are so very, very grateful for the space.”
The open house also served as an informal introduction to new hires Tiffany Hartford and Janet Cordle. Hartford will take on the role of executive director Oct. 1. Cordle recently started her position as director of programs.
Erb said Hartford is a great fit for LCofGI.
“Tiffany is really cool,” Erb said. “She’s just finishing wrapping up some of her previous commitments. She’s been filling in the meantime, and we’re slowly getting her built into the spot.”
“[Cordle] has been the epitome of rolling with the punches. She’s been here just a little over a week and she was more than happy to help me with this event,” Hullett said. “I was trying to hold back when I was training her on different procedures, but she said, ‘now what’s next?’”
“They are both very hard-working ladies who have a lot have passion and work ethic I’ve seen already,” Hullett said. “We just met them a couple of weeks ago, so I’m really excited for everyone to start working together and see how we can not only sustain our current programs, but also expand and improve upon them.”
All fits into an overall purpose for the open house, Hullett said. “We really wanted to focus on not only showing our space, but also letting people know that we’re here to provide free literacy education in a variety of ways, and to also have people really get a better understanding of kind of who we are and what we do,” Hullett said. “We have current students here today, current volunteer instructors, as well as our staff and board of directors. We really want people when they hear ‘Literacy Council’ to know what that means.”
Find the Literacy Council of Grand Island at https://www.giliteracy.org/. Hullett said, “All you really have to do is make the effort to contact us. You can come and just walk into our office, you can call us you can email our info account, you can reach out on social media on our new website. You have to just make that initial contact, and say, ‘Hey, I’m interested in learning more about the organization about volunteering.’”
Jessica Votipka is the education reporter at the Grand Island Independent. She can be reached at 308-381-5420.