SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – Goodwill Manasota, in partnership with Manatee Reads!, hosts a free weekly English as a Second Language (ESOL) class at its corporate campus where community members, Goodwill team members, Veterans Services Program participants, and Job Connection clients are able to develop their English skills. As part of the current curriculum, instructor Verna Urbanski encouraged her adult learners to submit essays for the Florida Literacy Coalition’s 2016 adult learner essay book, “Going Places.” Three of the students’ essays were selected for publication.
“Teaching an ESOL class at Goodwill Manasota, along with the Manatee Reads! ABE program, is both rewarding and memorable,” said Verna Urbanski, an Americorp VISTA volunteer with Manatee Reads! “It helps them to network and develop their language skills, and what better way to put it to use than to encourage my learners to enter the Florida Literacy Coalition 2016 adult learner essay book.”
The book was unveiled at the Florida Literacy Coalition Annual Meeting at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront Hotel in Orlando in early May. Goodwill Manasota team member Maria Nopal’s essay, titled “My Favorite Day,” and Veterans Services Program participant Leonard Snyder’s essay, titled “Controlling My Destiny,” were among those published.
At the opening general session on May 4, the keynote speaker, John Cocoran, author of “The Teacher Who Couldn’t Read,” inspired the adult learners ranging in age from 41-66 years old with his story of how he did not learn to read until he was 50 years old. Following Cocoran’s speech, many of the adult learners were invited to present their essays. Snyder proudly stepped up to the podium and read his essay aloud to the audience. After the opening general session attendees participated in conference activities and sessions of interest. Individual copies of “Going Places” were then mailed out to each contributing author.
“When individuals learn how to read, write, do basic math, and use computers, they have the power to lift themselves out of poverty, find and keep sustainable employment, and – ultimately – change their lives,” said Goodwill Manasota president and CEO Bob Rosinsky. “Goodwill believes in helping people with a hand up, not a handout, and the means to a better career and future for themselves and their families. We congratulate the three ESOL students who were selected and are grateful for the partnership we have with Manatee Reads!”
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2015, Goodwill Manasota served 22,739 people, placed 961 people in jobs and assisted 358 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $81.3 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted 41 million pounds out of the landfill. We accomplish our mission through a network of Good Neighbor Centers in Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto counties and our Mission Development Services (MDS) around North America. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota in essence belongs to this community, and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org.