Tutoring emphasized through Leon County’s literacy center

BL Perry Jr. Library located at 2817 South Adams Street
Photo credit: Alden Field

Since its founding in 1980, the Family Literacy Center located in the Dr. B.L. Perry Jr. Branch Library on South Adams Street continues to give support to the Leon County community.

The Family Literacy Center motivates K-12, GED, and English as a second language students with the support of tutors and additional resources that includes computers and study rooms.

Volunteers can sign up to become a tutor with the director of the program Alden Field. Becoming a tutor is not only a volunteer opportunity, but it supports the many students that are on a waiting list in need for a tutor.

Field has been coordinating the literacy program for ten years and said that it has brought him a consistent amount of happiness.

“I have been coordinating this program for ten years now and it has been a constant source of joy for me to witness the generosity of our volunteers and the perseverance of our students as they learn and grow together,” Field said.

Inside of the BL Perry Jr. Library
Photo credit: Alden Field

The literacy center began with twenty students, but needs to make room for double the number of students. This is where contributions in the form of monetary donations are welcomed. Monetary donations would go towards advertisement and physical expansion of the center.

Having a master’s degree in eastern classics and liberal arts, in addition to being certified in adult literacy, Field is described as a friendly face to everyone he encounters. It is no question that Field is what makes running the program effortless.

Shedeline Box, tutor and Florida A&M University student, suggests that becoming a tutor is not only a great volunteer opportunity, but it is a commitment to students who rely on the assistance.

“When you become a tutor it’s a small, but an important commitment,” Box said. “These kids rely on you as a tutor to help them where they’re struggling and being consistent and on time will make things easier for tutor pairs.”

This goes to say that the intellectual bond for developing minds – whether old or young – is essential in the process. The tutors at the literacy center are in an open environment where there is room for growth for both the student and tutor.

Karen Mesterton-Gibbons has been working at the center for three years and serves as the head of the specialty programming, as well as, works with students who are struggling with learning disabilities.

“We tell them that the students we have are often struggling for different reasons – some have a true learning disability, some are not getting the extra attention they need to thrive, some are just struggling with a particular subject,” Mesterton-Gibbons said.

Mesterton-Gibbons also explained that in her position does several tasks at the center, including tutoring students, organizing programs, and aiding Field daily.

Volunteering with the Dr. B.L. Perry Jr. Branch Library caters to a variety of educational needs and age groups. Interested volunteers can sign up with Field, the director of the literacy center, or apply through Volunteer Leon.