June 2021 | Adult Education Monthly Newsletter
In this Issue:
  • Resources for Talking About the COVID Vaccine in Your Community
  • Welcome to Bhumi Khambholja, our new Project Manager
  • Welcome to Our Newest Board Members
  • What's New? Achieve Database Improvements
  • Save the Date: Strengthen Health Insurance Literacy
  • Save the Date: Journey Through Literacy
  • Madison Reading Project Launches New Book Center
  • What is Juneteenth?
  • Virtual Juneteenth Celebration Series
  • Adult Education Programs are Facing Steep Cost Increases
  • Meet Degly from the Literacy Council of Sheboygan County
  • Literacy Council of Sheboygan County: An International Touchstone in the Community
Wisconsin Literacy News
Resources for Talking About the COVID Vaccine in Your Community
In our virtual series Talking About the COVID Vaccine in Your Community, participants learned strategies to share COVID-19 vaccine information and resources in their communities.

Welcome to Bhumi Khambholja, our new Project Manager
“Health literacy is key to improved health outcomes and a better quality of life. It is a privilege to be able to work on projects that empower people to protect their health and the health of their families.”

Join us in welcoming Bhumi Khambholja to our team. Bhumi has 10 years of experience on the frontlines of healthcare as a community pharmacist where she organized and implemented a variety of patient engagement initiatives. Improving health and digital literacy was an essential part of her work in helping patients manage their health conditions. She has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Purdue University and a Master’s in Health Informatics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She currently lives with her husband and son in the Milwaukee suburbs. She is excited to work for a nonprofit organization and focus her efforts on advancing health literacy.
Welcome to Our Newest Board Members
Welcome Jon Gilgenbach
Executive Director, Adult Learning Center
"Literacy is essential for people to actively participate in their lives. Literacy and numeracy fundamentals give people the confidence to seek their own answers and follow their own dreams."

Jon Gilgenbach's educational path saw him graduate with International Baccalaureate honors from J.I. Case High School in Racine, WI. He then went on to college at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, MO. His varied interests led to a wide range of courses taken, and he settled on a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications, with a focus on video production. After working for a television news station for two years, Jon returned to Milwaukee.

Jon's connection with the Adult Learning Center began in 2003, when he was assigned
to the center as a teacher for one year through Public Allies, an AmeriCorps program. Following a successful and rewarding program year, he was hired directly by the ALC and has remained with the organization since that time. After 15 years of working closely with both of the previous directors, Jon took on the role of Executive Director in December of 2018.
Welcome Alex Shade
Director of Social Responsibility, CUNA Mutual Group
"Literacy is the foundation on which a solid educational structure is built. It is the key to empowering individuals."

Alexzandra (Alex) Shade is the Director, Corporate Social Responsibility at CUNA Mutual Group. Alex is responsible for leading the strategy and execution of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility programs and initiatives, which includes philanthropic giving, employee volunteering, environmental sustainability, and community relations. She also leads and manages the CUNA Mutual Group Foundation portfolio and investment strategy, and building strategic partnerships throughout the communities we serve.
Alex has a dynamic, diverse, and global background in community development, outreach strategies, philanthropic giving, and innovative programming that has driven powerful change in the communities she has served. Alex has also led and launched various digital and tech initiatives, in addition to spearheading several process and change management solutions.
More new board members will be welcomed in our July e-Newsletter.
Professional Development
What's New? Achieve Database Improvements
When: Wednesday, June 30 at 10:00-11:00 am
Audience: Current Achieve users and those interested in the product

Tune into this presentation to find out about the new features for Achieve, an affordable cloud-based application built for the needs of community-based literacy agencies by literacy agencies.
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Save the Dates: Strengthen Health Insurance Literacy
Join us this September to strengthen your health insurance literacy.

Wisconsin Health Literacy is hosting a virtual professional development series for those who help patients, employees, and every day people understand the complexity of health insurance.

Strengthen Health Insurance Literacy: Improving access, understanding, and use.

Session topics:
  • Communicating Health Insurance 
  • Health Insurance Numeracy
  • Communicating Health Insurance with Seniors 
  • Health Insurance Equity 

More details coming soon!

Special thanks to event sponsor WEA Trust.
Save the Dates: Journey Through Literacy
This September, come on a "Journey Through Literacy," a virtual awareness event series, with Wisconsin Literacy.

You will listen, learn, and engage in experiences of people who have improved their lives through literacy.

Mark your calendars! More details to follow.
Member News
Madison Reading Project Launches New Book Center
Madison Reading Project celebrated its expanded capacity to serve more children with books and literacy enrichment programs at a May 26 ribbon cutting ceremony outside its new Book Center, bordering southwest Madison and Fitchburg.
Following a months-long move of more than 12,000 books, local dignitaries, volunteers and staff will gather outdoors at the new space, 1337 Greenway Cross, Madison, to observe the occasion and eight years of steady growth of providing free books to children throughout the greater Dane County area.
“We’re so excited to open our new Book Center with much more room to store books and package them for delivery to kids who need them,” says Rowan Childs, founder and executive director of the nonprofit organization.

“Our communities, local businesses, foundations, and individuals have been extremely generous giving books and monetary donations which allowed us to give away more than 70,000 books to over 31,000 children in the past 13 months,” Childs says. “This summer we hope to once again work with neighborhood centers, summer reading programs, community gatherings, and after-school events to continue our outreach. Our Big Red Reading Bus is ready to roll again!”

A virtual tour was offered on their Facebook event page: https://bit.ly/bookcenteropening.
Racial Justice Resources
What is Juneteenth?
An excerpt from the article on History.com:

Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth honors the end to slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday.
Virtual Juneteenth Celebration Series
During the week of June 14th, there will be virtual events "promoting political responsibility, educational advancement, financial competency, social responsibility, and overall wellbeing within the Black community" (Madison.com).

Community partners of the celebration include Kujichagulia Madison Center for Self Determination, Urban League of Greater Madison, 100 Black Men of Madison, American Family Dream Bank and more.
Advocacy News
Adult Education Programs are Facing Steep Cost Increases
Our programs continue to face steep costs as we navigate virtual and hybrid learning environments, and the transition back to in-person learning. Adult learners are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic as they continue to be the first out of the job market and the last back in during times of economic crisis. Many adult teachers and students still do not have access to the technology needed to learn today. (COABE newsletter)

Nonetheless, dedicated funding for adult education has been left out of every federal COVID-19 relief package to date.

Wisconsin Literacy continues to advocate for literacy support with the Governor's office, state and federal legislators, and leadership at our state agencies. We represent 70 members with almost 5,000 literacy program staff, instructors, and volunteer tutors, serving nearly 16,000 adults and families with low literacy statewide.

Across Wisconsin, our members give people the means to reach their goals, to build strong families and a strong workforce, to improve their health, and to contribute to the greater community.
Success Stories
Meet Degly from Literacy Council of Sheboygan County
Degly came to the Literacy Council of Sheboygan County to learn to read, write, and converse better in English. He worked with his tutor Larry for five years, showing perseverance and determination to achieve his goals.

This past year, Degly received several raises at his job, was promoted to foreman, and became the company interpreter.

Literacy Council of Sheboygan County:
An International Touchstone in the Community
Jen Balge (left) and Carol Myers from the Literacy Council of Sheboygan County.
If you’ve ever traveled to a foreign country where you don’t speak the language, you know firsthand just how intimidating it can be. That struggle is the daily reality of many immigrants to the United States.

Luckily, there are incredible resources available. The Literacy Council of Sheboygan County serves students from 23 different countries and speaking 12 different languages. An international touchstone in the community, they help adults feel more at home.

Thank You
Please send news you want to share to info@wisconsinliteracy.org so we can include it in the July 2021 e-news.

Thank you for your support!

Wisconsin Literacy is a proud member of:
211 S. Paterson St., Suite 170, Madison, WI 53703
(608) 257-1655 | info@wisconsinliteracy.org | wisconsinliteracy.org