Established in 1977 by a small group of Allentown residents concerned with the plight of area adults held back in life due to illiteracy, The Literacy Center has provided community-based literacy instruction without charge to more than 26,500 adult students over its forty-year span.
Starting from humble beginnings in a small donated space and with seed monies from the Allentown Area Lutheran Synod, the center was originally known as The Allentown Literacy Council. From an initial group of 4 community individuals, and a need for trained volunteer tutors, the group began teaching English to adults on a one-to-one basis.
The first Executive Director for The Allentown Literacy Council was Dr. Linda V. McCrossan, who served in that position for 29 years until her retirement in 2006. W. Warren Armstrong, a dedicated community leader, served as the first President of the Board of Directors. Over its forty years the organization has had only three Executive Directors.
In 1984, The Literacy Council established itself as an independent, not-for-profit organization. In 2008, the organization re-branded its identity, officially changing its name to The Literacy Center. The Literacy Center has since expanded and developed its educational programs to include GED and ESL, ranking within the top ten literacy providers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Today, The Literacy Center reaches a significant number of immigrants and refugees motivated to build upon their literacy and English language kills in order that their families can thrive and they can succeed in the United States. Adult student applicants in 2016 represented fifty-seven countries of origin and twenty-eight different home languages. In addition, The Literacy serves adults without a high school diploma, helping them prepare for the GED.
Currently, The Literacy Center employs 25 full and part-time employees, the majority of whom hold a Master’s Degree. Daily operations vitally depend upon the expertise and support of its staff and Board of Directors and their dedication to our mission to provide education for work, family, and life.