Pamela Miller wants to see all of Forsyth County literate.
In an effort to make that happen, the new executive director of Literacy Forsyth and her staff recently introduced two new daytime classes open to adults in the community: small group or individual tutoring Tuesdays through Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the organization’s headquarters on Browns Bridge Road by That Biscuit Place restaurant.
The point of the classes, Miller said, is to reach people who can only attend during the day, for reasons such as they work night jobs or are senior citizens who do not like to drive at night.
She added because the classes are not specifically English as a second language, or ESOL, or GED classes, she hopes they will help the nonprofit reach more of the community than it has previously.
“We’ve had ESOL and GED education previously, but we found one demographic that’s not being served is multi-generational non-readers or those who have low reading levels or students who have dropped out of school,” she said. “Those [areas] are where our focus is and we’re getting back to the roots of the program and reaching out to Forsyth County residents.
“Maybe it’s grandparents raising grandkids or people who are rehabilitating themselves and want to be able to read, but that’s what [these new classes] are for.”
Miller, who took over former executive director Rebecca Eller’s position in January, has a background in education, which she said has aided her the last few months.
Originally from Pennsylvania, she moved here for the directorship position after most recently working for another nonprofit.
“The reason I am in the role I’m in is because I have a background in fundraising for nonprofits and community outreach,” she said. “I was a high school mathematics teacher for 17 years and also worked in a law office, so I have some legal experience, too.
“What we’re hoping to do this year is let people know we’re here, have them take advantage of that and also reach people who are looking for volunteer opportunities or who want to contribute and give back to the Forsyth County community.”
Aside from the new classes, Literacy Forsyth Offers ESOL classes from 6-8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Cumming United Methodist Church, with GED classes on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6-8 p.m. at Literacy Forsyth’s Browns Bridge Road classroom building.
The organization also offers an online GED program and has partnered with Lanier Technical College to offer more courses.
“We’re a Certified Literate Community State of Georgia Program, or CLCP, so we have to follow certain guidelines to have that designation,” Miller said. “We’ve been [at the Browns Bridge location] since 2015 and prior to that, classes were held at local churches.
“We’re really trying to utilize classroom space as much as possible as a goal for this year.”
Miller said because Literacy Forsyth is a grassroots organization, they rely on volunteers and annual fundraisers to provide the free classes and materials, which are open to anyone age 18 and up.
The next fundraiser will be a scrabble tournament held at the Cumming Library on June 17, and Literacy Forsyth will also hold its 18th annual adult spelling bee in October.