Literacy Achieves (founded as Vickery Meadow Learning Center)

Changing Lives Through Literacy

aka Literacy Achieves   |   Dallas, TX   |  www.LiteracyAchieves.org

Mission

To equip non-English speaking adults and their young children with English literacy and life skills to promote self-sufficiency and the overall well-being of our students, their families and the greater community.

Notes from the nonprofit

Literacy Achieves could not exist without the support of more than 350 dedicated volunteers who teach all of our adult classes and assist in the Early Childhood Education Program. Additional volunteers help with Literacy Achieves events and work on projects to improve our educational sites. In the adult program, volunteers work in teams of two, teaching a 2 hour class, one day per week for a 12-week semester. Most volunteers teach both semesters, and many have taught for multiple years. All volunteers attend an initial orientation to learn the basic structure and expectations of the program. Training and support is provided by Literacy Achieves staff to volunteers (new & returning) throughout the year. During the 2017-18 school year, volunteers contributed 18,705 hours of teaching, representing more than $521,498 of in-kind support. It is through this use of dedicated volunteer teachers that Literacy Achieves is able to serve approximately 1,100 adult students and 330 children each ye

Ruling year info

1997

Executive Director

Ms. Sarah Papert

Main address

PO Box 150390

Dallas, TX 75315 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

VMLC

Vickery Meadow Learning Center

EIN

75-2708992

NTEE code info

Adult, Continuing Education (B60)

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

Ethnic/Immigrant Services (P84)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

In Dallas County, 21% of adults cannot read and write in English at a basic level. Individuals who lack basic literacy skills are more likely to experience crime, unemployment and poverty. Yet, when adults learn how to read and write, they have the power to transform their lives. Illiteracy is an underlying cause of poverty. The Vickery Meadow (75231), West Dallas (75212) and East Dallas (75246) neighborhoods were selected by Literacy Achieves because of their high concentration of residents living in poverty who have little or no English skills. Illiteracy impedes effective parenting. Literacy Achieves students often face barriers to family engagement including lack of English skills and low-formal educational attainment. There is substantial research supporting the importance of family engagement in children’s academic success.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Early Childhood Education Program

The free program provides a child-centered literacy-rich environment for the young children of adult students attending morning or afternoon English classes. While parents are learning English, children are preparing for elementary school and beyond. Children are grouped by ages in Infant, Toddler or Preschool Classes. Classes are taught by teams of two paid teachers, many of whom are current or former students of Literacy Achieves. Teachers receive ongoing training and support from the Children’s Program Director. The program also provides bi-weekly Parent and Child Together (PACT) Activities including: Curtains Up on Literacy, Fun Fridays, and No Boundaries. Parents are encouraged to become active participants in the children’s education through parent support groups, and take-home learning activities.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers

The program includes up to eight levels of English classes with classroom and computer instruction, as well as one-on-one tutoring in preparation for Citizenship. All classes have a core text book and daily reading component. The classes are free of charge, but both volunteers and students are asked to contribute for their books ($70 and $35 respectively). All classes are taught by volunteer teachers who receive a detailed week-by-week curriculum to structure their class lessons and planning. This curriculum provides the pacing for the class; however, teachers are able to tailor the classes to meet the individual goals of their students. Expert training is provided for all teachers at the beginning of each semester. The trainings address all aspects of language learning: reading, writing, speaking and listening. Ongoing support is also available from the Literacy Achieves Staff.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants
Economically disadvantaged people

The program extends our goal of eliminating barriers to learning and self-sufficiency. In addition to communication skills, students must also have confidence and cultural knowledge to access and navigate community resources in order to achieve personal goals. The Student Services Staff members are responsible for 1) providing individualized student assistance for referrals to community resources as needed; and 2) coordinating enrichment programs and presentations led by community partners on topics such as legal and financial resources, nutrition, family engagement, and health resources.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

We understand the difficulty many English Language Learners have in finding the time, transportation, childcare or money needed in order to attend classes. We seek to remove these common barriers through:
Convenient Scheduling and Locations: We provide day and evening classes so students may enroll in the class which best suits their work/family needs. Our sites are located in the neighborhoods where our students live, eliminating transportation difficulties and allowing us to foster a strong sense of community in the neighborhoods.
Meeting the Needs of Parents with Young Children: Our daytime classes provide concurrent programming for adults and children creating a valuable synergy which allows parents to model the importance of learning to their young children.
Programs are Free of Charge, yet Accountability Driven: Efficient use of over 350 volunteer teachers allows us to provide Instruction at no charge. Regular, on-time attendance is required in order to stay in the program.

STRATEGY: English Instruction for Adults
We offer up to eight levels of English classes from basic to advanced. Classes are co-taught by trained volunteers. We use the nationally recognized “Side by Side" series as our core curriculum. Students attend two-hour classes, either in the day or evening, Monday -Thursday for up to 200 hours of classroom instruction per school year.

STRATEGY: Early Childhood Education
We provide a quality program for the young children (4 mo-5 yrs) of students attending the daytime adult classes. The program is designed to meet our students’ unique needs with a child-centered, literacy-rich environment and uses an Emergent Curriculum which is beneficial for English language learners because it builds on prior knowledge.

STRATEGY: Improve students’ life-skills and cultural knowledge
Student Services Program enhances student life skills with computer labs, family mentoring programs, nutrition and financial classes, legal fairs and parent workshops.

Organization Strengths
Convenient Scheduling & Locations - By providing day and evening classes, students can enroll in the program that best suits their needs. Our sites are located in the neighborhoods where our students live.
Meeting the Needs of Parents with Young Children – Our day classes provide concurrent programming for adults and children creating a valuable synergy which enhances learning for the entire family.
Programs are Free of Charge, yet Accountability Driven - Instruction is provided at no charge. Regular attendance is required in order to stay in the program.
Structured Program Approach – Our unique program design includes a formal enrollment process, daily classes and multiple class levels.
Effective Use of Over 350 Weekly Volunteer Teachers - Compassionate volunteer teachers give students much needed encouragement. Students are exposed to a variety of teaching styles through the teachers, which increases their exposure to the complexities of the English language.

Measurable Results for 2017-2018
Student Attendance: 85% (944) of 1,116 enrolled adult students received at least 12+ hours of instruction.

ESL Proficiency Test: 58% (395) of 685 students with a pre- and post-test increased literacy skills by one level or more.

Student Surveys Results:
95% (344) of 363 workforce students gained, retained or improved employment
94% (304) of 323 students with children were more involved in their children’s education
97% (660) of 674 students increased their self-confidence
91% (626) of 688 students learned more about computers
77% (355) of 462 students were involved in community activities
10% (47) of 462 students expressed interest in becoming US citizen
5% (22) of 462 students applied for or became a US citizen
11% (52) of 462 students took additional training including GED/HSE

Financials

Literacy Achieves (founded as Vickery Meadow Learning Center)
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Literacy Achieves (founded as Vickery Meadow Learning Center)

Board of directors
as of 05/17/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. David Hundley

Counsel, Rees-Jones Holdings LLC

Term: 2018 - 2019

Shelton Hopkins

Retired - Orthopaedic Surgeon, Orthopaedic Associates of Dallas

Myra Fischel

Community Volunteer and Independent Real Estate Broker

Mark Alexander

Executive Director, Movement Day Dallas

Colleen Taylor

Community Volunteer

Susan Systma Bratt

Associate Pastor, Northridge Presbyterian Church

Amita Chhabra

Owner, Radical Rags

Christopher Casner

Retired - Senior Consultant Verizon Communications

Carole Cohen

Retired - Financial Consultant Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC

Clinton Coleman

Co-Founder and CEO, Novo Labs, Inc.

Ricki Ebner

Community Volunteer

Chuck Gall

Partner, Litigation, Hunton, Andrews & Kurth

Katrina Gawen

Account Manager, Randsad Technologies

Julie Lowenberg

Community Volunteer

George Lowery

Engineer, Texas Instruments Incorporated

Beth Maultsby

Partner, Family Law, Goranson Bain

Barry McNeil

Senior Counsel, Haynes and Boone,LLP

Gwen Moore

Retired - Past President and Co-Founder of the PLAN Fund

Jeff Morales

Partner, Casla Partners, LLC

Deborah Morgan-Stokes

Senior Minister, East Dallas Christian Church

Femi Omonije

Owner/CEO, Eko & Sons LLC

Daniel Simon Jr.

Senior Software Engineer II, Raytheon

Kate Watson

Community Volunteer

Jabeen Zaidi

Marketing Consultant, IM Therapist and Foreign Language Teacher, IPT and Greenhill School

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes