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Madison County Literacy Coalition launches website at Colgate

By Upstate Institute on May 21, 2010

The Upstate Institute hosted a meeting and website launch of the Madison County Literacy Coalition on Friday, May 21, 2010.

Madison County Literacy Coalition was formed with some 50 county organizations in winter and spring 2009 and ratified at a County Literacy Summit sponsored by Upstate Institute at Colgate University in May 2010.

The coalition is committed to the goal of 100 percent literacy through 100 percent community engagement in Madison County, N.Y. In May 2009, the Coalition’s Leadership Council—led by John Becker, chairman of the Madison County Board of Supervisors—accepted the Literacy Needs Assessment for Madison County prepared by Literacy Powerline, Inc., and funded by the Central New York Community Foundation.

It determined to pursue the next stage of coalition building, addressing the most pressing literacy needs and long-term strategic planning.

Since May 2009, coalition members have formed the Madison County
Providers Network, whose mission commits members to “assist 100% of the literacy providers to collaborate in achieving the vision of 100% access to literacy services in Madison County.”

In October 2010, Network representatives defined four immediate goals: (1) establish a provider referral mechanism, (2) develop a public awareness/services promotion marketing campaign, (3) study existing barriers to literacy services in county and (4) identify the immediate pressing literacy need(s) of the community and address them. As a result, they formed committees for Steering, Marketing, Reducing Barriers and, to address Goal 4, Health Literacy that have been meeting every month since.

To facilitate referrals, a list serve, a wiki and a memorandum of understanding (currently circulating for signatures) were developed. The Marketing Committee is developing a campaign to promote public awareness of the county’s dire literacy problems and of current available literacy services. The Health Literacy Committee has been meeting with County Health Department personnel to develop an effective countywide plan.

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