literacy coalition

CONNECTIONS — A new partnership has begun between two of the community's nonprofits.

Bona Vista is celebrating a new opportunity for the WorkForce Diversity program through a recent partnership with the Literacy Coalition.

The WorkForce Diversity division of Bona Vista’s community services helps individuals with disabilities with career placement. When Teresa began in the program in January she was seeking a new occupation. Her husband passed away last year, and she wanted to start on a fresh path toward a new career.

Teresa utilizes services through the Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation program, which assists people to prepare for and attain employment. Her job coaches, Courtney Butler and Erin Durr, wanted to first identify Teresa’s areas of interest; the primary career interests identified were teaching the English language and literacy.

With an occupational field identified, Teresa began to work on setting goals to lead her toward this career. Durr recently assisted Teresa in the Indiana University Kokomo application process in order to pursue a degree in English. A college degree will provide the foundation for a career in teaching these skills, as well as the confidence and credentials Teresa seeks in her career path.

A job shadow at the Literacy Coalition piqued Teresa’s interest, and Butler reached out to the organization on behalf of Teresa’s goal of achieving experience in helping teach people to read. She had a successful interview, but then the pandemic happened. The plan was paused for a few months. In June, Durr followed up and made the connection for Teresa to begin working with the Literacy Coalition as a volunteer. Teresa volunteers twice a week for one-hour sessions with two individuals. She works with them on literacy skills and reading comprehension, as well as phonics. Some of her time involves creative teaching, like when she plays Scrabble with her students to help build their spelling skills.

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Teresa is building relatable experience in this field through her time with the Literacy Coalition. The Bona Vista staff is excited for this new relationship and for the confidence Teresa gains from helping others.

“After observing her tutor her students, I believe she has found a career that suits her well. You can tell she enjoys it,” said Durr.

Bona Vista has had many community partnerships through the years, but this is a first with the Literacy Coalition.

The goal of WorkForce Diversity is to focus on the individuals’ abilities and not their disabilities, to enhance their skills to achieve their vocational goals. We are hopeful there will be more opportunities like the partnership with the Literacy Coalition with other community partners.

For more information about Bona Vista’s WorkForce Diversity and how you can also partner with the program, please call 765-454-5997 or visit www.bonavista.org.