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LiteracyCNY rebrands and relaunches for students 18 and older


LiteracyCNY could have been a permanent casualty of a prolonged pandemic when it closed its doors in November of 2020, but it’s making a comeback on April 1.

The Literacy Rochester chapter stepped in to see what they could do and entered a managed services agreement of the CNY location last summer. Since then, the organizations have been preparing to rebrand and relaunch in Syracuse with a new website as of April 1. LiteracyCNY Executive Director Joshua Stapf said the response has been very positive.

“People were very excited that this institution that’s had just a strong connection to the community and is really rooted in Syracuse was coming back to help people in need and also to fill a brand-new need that really came to light through the pandemic with people needing the computer education.”  

So, for that reason ‘digital literacy’ has been added to the other instructional programming of reading, writing and mathematics for students 18 and older.

“It’s really the older adults who have the difficulties and need the help and also the low-literate, the refugees and immigrants that in their home country might not have had access to the technology and the internet there.”    

Since last summer LiteracyCNY has been looking to reunite with tutors and former students. For now, the in person tutoring sessions will be in public spaces such as libraries, coffee shops and other locations.

“We’re hoping to have big social media pushes to get more tutors, get our students back. By the end of this week we’re hoping to have our first volunteers out in community locations doing digital literacy help and we’re just moving forward.”  

In addition to students as young as 18, Stapf said they also have older adults who are retired in their late 60’s and above who want to read stories to their grandchildren and take a more active role in their lives. Small group english classes or private tutors are available, and math classes will be added in the future. Original founder Ruth Colvin is 105 years-old and an active emeritus board member.

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.