"Make Indianapolis 100% Literate"
Our mission is to promote and improve the literacy of adults and families in Central Indiana.
Our vision is a future in which adults have the literacy, English, and digital skills they need to help build stronger families, workplaces, and communities.
We pursue this aim by providing free literacy, English language, and digital skills instruction to adults through our innovative Community Classrooms for Success (CCS) program.
Why Literacy Matters
To understand the importance of what Indy Reads does, you only need to think about what you are doing right now. You are reading. You are taking in information across time and space that is represented only by marks on a page. It is a process so automatic for most of us, that we rarely think about its power.
Over 49,000 adults in Marion County, however, do not have that power. (City-Data.com, 2014) (National Center for Education Statistics, 2003) (United States Census Bureau, 2010) They cannot read well enough to complete a job application, understand a newspaper, take in the meaning of road signs, or comprehend written instructions. They must gather their information through talking, listening, and remembering. If they misunderstand initially or forget, that information is lost to them. They cannot contribute their skills and abilities effectively to the workplace, so they and potential employers alike are the worse for it.
Another group of local residents face a similar set of challenges. Over 12,000 residents of Marion County report using the English language “not well” or “not at all.” (City-Data.com, 2014) (United States Census Bureau, 2010). Without proficiency in English, their experience is much like that of someone who is illiterate. They are cut off from vital information and its use.
Some of our neighbors view life as through a glass door with an elaborate lock. Opportunities for better employment, greater civic involvement, and wider life experiences lie within view, but out of reach. Our fellow Hoosiers can see what is available on the other side, but cannot get there because they are held back by illiteracy or lack of English skills.
What does Indy Reads do? We provide the key to that locked door. We teach people how the mechanism works so they never have to be locked out again, and then we help them open the door for themselves. Once inside the world of reading and English language proficiency, they can move on to a High School Equivalency diploma, job training, skills certifications, higher education, and more. They can move on to a life of self-sufficiency and dignity. They can become part of our vibrant and growing workforce and help employers build a stronger State of Indiana.