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Help fight literacy problem in county

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According to the Utah State Office of Education, one in five adults in Utah County is functionally non-literate. This means more than 21,000 adults in the county cannot perform basic functions such as writing checks, reading instructions on medicine, getting a driver's license or finding an address.

Project Read needs volunteers to help these people through its adult literacy program. About half of Project Read's students are learning English as a second language, while the remaining are basic literacy students. Helping low-literate adults improve their basic reading skills has a direct and measurable impact on both the education and quality of life of their children.

Project Read matches volunteer one-on-one with students to tutor in basic reading and writing skills. Volunteers are asked to serve three hours a week.

Currently Project read is also developing reading programs for native Spanish speakers to learn to read and write in Spanish. Tutor training sessions will be held Saturday, Jan. 26, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Provo City Library at Academy Square. Spanish literacy training will be Saturday, Feb. 9, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Other volunteer opportunities include:

Help individuals in crisis. The Crisis Line of Utah County needs volunteers to serve on the morning shift. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and complete three hours of training.

Build the confidence of a child. Volunteer with the Children's Justice Center as a child advocate. The Child Advocate program supports children who are involved in a child abuse investigation. Volunteers fill the role as a friend and a positive, reliable and consistent presence in the child's life. Thirty hours of required training is provided. The next session is Jan 26 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. A six-month minimum commitment is requested.

For more information about these and other volunteer opportunities contact the United Way of Utah County Volunteer Center weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 374-8108 or visit the volunteer database at the United Way of Utah County Web site www.unitedwayuc.org.