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Program in need of more volunteers
Offers help with English, GED classes
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Forsyth County News

At a glance

To volunteer to help teach English and other classes, call (770) 876-2011. For businesses looking to contribute services to Little Mill’s programs, call (678) 965-5000, Ext. 342588.

As Literacy Forsyth expands its reach across the county, the nonprofit organization continues the search for more volunteers.

Executive Director Annaliza Thomas said with hundreds of residents seeking a GED or English fluency, more people are needed to help.

For English as a second language classes, volunteers “just have to be English speakers over the age of 18,” Thomas said.

“They help the English language learners practice English conversation,” Thomas said.

“It’s really easy,” she said. “It’s low pressure, the students really enjoy it and no training is required.”

English courses are currently offered Mondays at Otwell Middle School and Tuesdays at the Almon C. Hill Educational Center. Thomas said anywhere from 80 to 100 students attend the classes.

The two locations also offer courses for fluent English speakers to work toward earning a GED. The program was recently expanded to Little Mill Middle School, where Thursday night classes are offered.

Little Mill coordinator Kim DeRose said she has received many “requests from parents and some response from the community nonprofit … agencies that said there’s a need in general for basic services like GED classes on the north end.”

“Our community doesn’t often have transportation to get to Lanier Tech, so we thought if we could bring Lanier Tech here, it could be easier for them to get to classes,” DeRose said.

Rebecca Eller, an instructor at the south Forsyth technical college, teaches the Little Mill course. Thomas said Eller’s experience at the college level makes her a valuable asset for the students.

“The answer is not just the GED. It’s what you do with the GED,” she said. “So part of our program is to get the life skills they need once they get their diploma.”

Though primarily a technical college, Lanier Tech also offers GED and other adult education classes Mondays through Thursdays. Thomas said it’s part of the county’s effort to provide services for the more than 12,000 adults living in Forsyth that do not have a high school diploma or GED.

Little Mill’s family resource center also is open Tuesdays and Saturdays for family engagement activities like poetry reading, tutoring and computer use.

Like Literacy Forsyth, DeRose said Little Mill is seeking businesses and community partners to volunteer goods and services, everything from printing newsletters to providing snacks and meals.

“The events that we sponsor … are during the dinner hours, so we usually try to have some sort of meal,” she said. “Honestly those are the kinds of things that bring people in and keep them here.”