by Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY – Community Literacy Centers (CLC) will hold its 30th anniversary celebration, Literacy Live at Twilight, on Thursday, April 27, at the Waterford Renaissance Hotel, 6500 Waterford Boulevard, in Oklahoma City.
Beginning at 7 p.m. the anniversary gala will feature drinks, hors d’oeuvres, dancing, an oyster pull, and a silent auction. Tickets may be purchased for $100 each or $180 for a pair of tickets.
Proceeds from Literacy Live at Twilight will benefit adults in the Oklahoma City community who are learning to read and provide classroom materials for students and teachers.
“We knew we wanted to make this year’s event special,” said event chair Ashley Cooper. “The community has given so much over the last thirty years to support CLC’s mission and provide truly meaningful literacy resources to adults in search of them. This Twilight edition of Literacy Live is our way of expressing our gratitude to the Oklahoma City community, as well as ensuring that CLC’s thirty-first year is even better than its thirtieth.”
Established in 1987, Community Literacy Centers, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to teaching adults to read without cost. Since its inception, CLC has helped more than 32,000 individuals
“A lack of literacy often hides in plain sight,” stated Becky O’Dell, executive director of Community Literacy Centers, “There are an estimated 140,000 people in Oklahoma county alone that struggle with literacy skills, and you’d never know it to speak with them. It may not be visible, but the need is there.”.
According to the website, CLC is a place where adults learn to read in a safe, welcoming environment. For many adults, CLC provides a second chance at life and opens new doors of opportunity.
According to O’Dell, many adults who come to CLC have heartbreaking stories about their experiences as non-readers. They are often ashamed of their circumstances and need a lot of reassurance. They need to know that they can become self-sufficient adults.
A participant of CLC’s classes, Crystal’s testimony exemplifies what being able to read means to the students.
When Crystal’s daughter started to school she began asking her mom for help and to read to her. “I didn’t want her to grow up and be my age and have that trouble.” Crystal said.
One day while watching cartoons with her kids on television, Crystal saw a commercial for CLC classes. She thought to herself “That’s my chance. I need to do something for me and my kids.”
After a couple of months Crystal finally made that call. “I set up an appointment. I took the test and I cried…it was just overwhelming – just to see the grade level I was at, she recalls. “The teachers are really sweet and they don’t seem like they are judging me at all. The other students are really friendly. I have a good time when I go to class.”
Since attending CLC classes, Crystal now has a desire to go to college, “I feel good every day after I get out of class. I know it’s helping my daughter and my son. I’ve been thinking about becoming a teacher,” she said. “I don’t want anybody to fall into the cracks like I did.”
Today, Crystal is proud that her daughter is at the head of her class. “She’s just doing great and that makes me feel so good,” Crystal said. “I’m so proud of her, my son and myself.”
CLC partners with more than 28 agencies in Oklahoma City to reach those who need assistance. The organization offers classes in basic literacy skills and English as a Second Language. It also provides tutor training and additional workshops for volunteers and instructors.
To purchase tickets for the Literacy Live at Twilight gala or for more information, visit www.communityliteracy.com.