Our primary mission is to create alternative literacy opportunities in order to educate and empower underserved populations (e.g. incarcerated juveniles and adults, women, at-risk youth) and to support university-community literacy outreach programs.
The Center operates SpeakOut! a community-based literacy program that promotes social change with multiple populations. Our goals are to contribute directly to the literacy needs of Larimer County by offering programming that complements existing literacy education opportunities and to advocate for increased public awareness about the needs and contributions of our diverse community.
The kind of work that embodies our definition of community literacy includes 826 Valencia, a national nonprofit that assists students aged six through eighteen with their writing skills. We share their belief that “strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.”
We also share the Community Literacy Journal’s definition of community literacy as “the domain for literacy that exists outside of mainstream educational and work institutions.” We recognize that there are many teens and adults who do not succeed in traditional school settings, and we aim to offer alternative opportunities for these individuals to practice and improve their reading, writing and critical thinking skills
Since 2005, we’ve developed creative and expository writing workshops with both youth and adult writers across the Fort Collins community. These programs have included the Intergenerational Storytelling Project, which serves relative caregivers and their families; and Partnership for Literacy Success, which assists ESL and adult language learners, and now our sole focus — the SpeakOut! Writing Workshop for at-risk youth and incarcerated men and women.
Our community outreach work has also included contributing to the revival of the community-wide Literacy Network of Larimer County. Our work with the Literacy Network has resulted in quarterly meetings for literacy workers across Larimer County as well as a new Network website committed to improving communication across agencies and service providers.