In existence since 1988, the center focuses on adult literacy and GED preparedness. It also provides literacy and homework help for children.
Future goals for the center include being able to provide students with updated curriculum and reading materials. Executive Director Candace Lewis said she also wants to have more students and a higher success rate.
Each person who comes to the center takes a test to determine their educational level before tutoring or GED preparation begins. All literacy students are given one-on-one help, while GED students work through a curriculum of workbooks and DVDs, Lewis said.
Depending on the level GED students are on, they may also have one-on-one tutors. Volunteers are also available at certain times to help GED students with math and writing as they are working through the curriculum.
All of the tutors and members of the board of directors are volunteers. In the past, Lewis said some of the volunteers have been past students. Approximately 35 volunteers work in the center’s programs, according to Lewis.
Last year saw big changes for the center as it moved locations and held its first children’s summer reading program.
The center had been located in the upper level of the history branch of the Cleveland Bradley County Library. Lewis said members of the organization appreciated the library working with them. However, the space made for a cramped learning environment. In preparation to apply for a United Way grant, Lewis began looking into alternative locations. After considering a building on Broad Street, a proposal was brought before the board of directors and the center moved two weeks later.
The center moved to a 4,000- square-foot location on Broad Street with several smaller rooms for adult literacy students to learn one-on-one within a more personal setting, according to Lewis.
Lewis said the new location allows the center to provide a more welcoming learning environment. The relocation has provided more individual rooms for programs.
Since the center moved to its new location, more than 130 new students have come to the center, and six students have been a part of the GED program. Already this year the center is seeing an increase in students. Lewis said the number of students in the first quarter of this year has increased 20 percent compared to the same time last year.
Another change has been in the curriculum used for the GED diploma. The switch to an accelerated curriculum was made possible by a grant from the Johnson Family Foundation. The center also receives funding from the United Way and donations. The board of directors, staff and Lewis are always on the lookout for new grant opportunities, she said.
As the organization continues to grow, funding and having enough volunteers will continue to be a challenge
The center is open Monday through Thursday. For more information, visit www.learningcentercleveland.org or call 478-1117.