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04-30 7:00 am United We Move

Apr 30, 2017|

United Way’s Terri Westerfield discusses the many services offered by the United Way of Southeast Louisiana.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Hello everyone welcome to united way to live united I'm teary Westerfield. And joining me today I have friends who were talking about literacy. Hour look at the programs and Saturday two is the director of education services. For the YMCA of greater New Orleans welcome Shannon thank you for having me. Jordan is also is patty riddle barker. Petty is the director of corporate social responsibility. For Entergy Corp. welcome Betty declining. And also joining us today Charles Brown who is the director or executive director of the world's public I'm very welcome child thank you. For those viewers tuned in today I'd let you know the united way of southeast Louisiana has a blueprint for prosperity. We want to eradicate poverty and. Our seven Paris region. We're strategically investing in programs and initiatives collaborations. And efficacy efforts to meet our community's greatest needs. We had a bold vision and equitable communities were all individuals are healthy educated and economically stable. In Jefferson Orleans Plotkin and Saint Bernard saint Tammany tens of Allah and Washington parishes. And we know that literacy is key for children and adults to succeed in school the workplace and in the life. Literacy can save an individual and finally from poverty. YMCA of greater New Orleans community impact partner or partner agency of the united way has been taking the lead in adult literacy. Working in conjunction with the New Orleans public library. Corporate supporters like energy and other partners to improve lives and our community. And yes there are some say is yes that's important. Because she and I love started up let's talk about yes and what it means to the community. Well yes he is an adult education program that has a very simple mission we wanna give adults the math. Reading and computer skills that people need to function in the world today. Whether it is to read about your child or whether it's to get the computer skills seat can work. At a desk or you'd do a better job. At the job you have revered help view. So were located at two branches of the New Orleans public library downtown at Maine and that the east nor islands branch. And we. Welcome anyone to come in with questions about learning how to read. Getting high school diploma. We're just refresher classes in math if you have a math test to take for work that your anxious conceive and have a school for trying for years. Please don't worry we have plenty of people in that situation and we are more than happy to help and most importantly our services are free. All we need are people who wanna come in and do the work. And succeed. And a lot of met the region near freeze because you have supporters. I have had a had a welcome you to the table this will be his energy. You're the director of corporate responsibility and you have such a big job because energy is. A huge company in our hearts and in our community and what you do for so many. I know that part of this literacy is just one of the many things that you do you support in our region and actually across the state it. Exactly actually our our primary focus Syria's Golan probably our education. Low income programs programs to alleviate poverty and environmental programs and so the YMCA's yes program fits perfectly they do. Such and such an amazing job helping individuals who are working hard to build a better life for themselves and their families and that's something that is very much needed in this community where were happy to support. Over the past ten years we've donated almost 200000 dollars to support to. Adult literacy programs here in the city. And that is so how bio Charles right is executive director at the library in my goodness. I was up perusing the web site you're worse right and it. Actually this statistics are a little bit startling about so many in our our region who don't know how to read. Oh yes I think is estimated to having him whoever it is. For at least here in the city of New Orleans is just say the 4% of adults read at or below the grade level. And then Shannon some of her clients actually. Are really illiterate I mean there are at much lower them you know the fifth grade. You cannot reinstall. I had parents who cannot spell their children's names you they cannot spell the name of the street that they live moment. And when your operating at such a deficit. What TJ when an emergency comes I was thinking about the tornado that hit in New Orleans seize that did affect two of our students. What would you do if you had to get healthy he had to get. Insurance information and you couldn't read well enough to navigate that process so I think illiteracy. Affects every aspect of your life whether it's your work. Whether your hound whether it's your kids that affects everything. I was just in we were talking earlier before the program but. You that you read to learn you read to earn your read for joy and you sometimes shared the stories if it brings tears to my ice. About a grandmother or even a model will come and say I would like to be able to reach and we child. Something that so many of us are so fortunate and just take for granted there. And then not being able to be able to do that that's a thing I think what motivates a lot and our students number one and it's getting a better job. Number two is wanting to help their children with school work. And it is really touches me to hear parents say how excited they are. That they can do math at their kids now because of what we've topped the math classroom. I love seeing it when they bring in school books at their children are using and just say can you show and we can't do that. It shows that parents want to be engaged in parents want better for their kids second we have a responsibility to have our program that is free. And that is available to so many people because of its location of the public library. I've always said that even people who do not know how to read at all. Know where the public library is. They are not afraid to go win because they know there's going to be someone who will answer their questions. So partnering with the library for our program has been perfect for us because people walk in the door every day looking for help and the librarians are so kind and walk him right after endorsed. Well I think its own. Port because. Where we're going to talk a little later about Alice and the reason I'm going to bring that up is because Alice stands for access to limited income constrained it employed. And this is something that pay you would you weigh in because we want to thank you so much either the national Alice advisory council. Folks Allah misrepresent so many people. That was findings may also be part of the group that are having problems with literacy and getting jobs. They don't have the access to maybe even get sometimes to a library certainly not to be able. To a four may be your own computer and in this digital age. We all need to have that skill set. And pay at this point to it thank you so much because. It would be part of our us do you see that it literacy. Is key. As shares it to getting jobs and helping to lift people out of poverty and beyond. Absolutely I think is it's no coincidence that the analyst report that was just released last week. Showed that 42% of Louisiana households struggle with the ability to meet their basic needs their income is not sufficient to. Provide a basic lifestyle in Louisiana and that correlates almost exactly to the 40%. Of adults who have difficulty with literacy. Did it it's a perfect overlay there's no coincidence there I'm convinced. And I I am too and I think it to know that. Yes I would give you accolades too because you've just won a national award I believe it is chained in a very proud of it we just received an award. From the coalition. Adult basic education Kyle wave witches. And national un membership based organization of 151000 educators and advocates for adult education. And we were at a given an award for. A digital literacy outreach that we're doing at the library. We see so many people watching in the library you need help with job applications so we decided to set up. In each of our. Branches where were operating a staff member whose job is to help you when you walk again when you say I have a job waiting for me. At the drugstore but I just don't know how to do the application. We have someone will help you with that and the way we approached it was we talk about treating everyone who walks in the door as if they're walking into the vast hotel. Because one of the things we think about it gases we do a great job in New Orleans about telling. Visitors to our city where to go and gritty eat you had to have a good time but how can we do a better job telling our own people about opportunities and education. So our goal when people walk in the door with their so nervous and anxious about a job is to say we're here to help sit down relax we've got this. But also. We talked to them about other opportunities that they might have if we see they don't have a high school diploma or happy to refer them to us or to other programs. We just want them to be aware of opportunities that exist in the community and in the library. And again I would think Charles. Happy that computers having the programs you Phil Berry is not. Just the place I troopers is trying to go inning Dewey decimal system and you find your book. There is so much going on there it really is kind of Borman developing just come in and all races all ages and learning. It is key is it learning and when you see very little tiny children you know what that's important because if we can get kids to learn and become literate and good students. As an early age and it starts with even beyond that high quality early child care. That wow. Then they have a great opportunity. For a successful future. Thought logo arbor is Richard roses for lifelong learning. And one of these are doing and put auto Europe and the issue of literacy but we are currently. Looking for our first early childhood. Levering specialists for your grew out of orbit infant and the very young to nurture. A joy of books and reading and readiness for school. Success. And it continues literally from birth to the grave you know in terms of of opportunism collaborate learn and just six available live on what Shannon and about via our literacy in the broad digital literacy efforts. You don't have to be enroll older. You know be involved with the S program that we offer some type of literacy insistent that all fourteen of our library locations. And it's a key role today in employment. Because. I would venture to say 95% of all applications. Are expected to be done on line. So even if you're literate in the traditional sense. Many people walk in and they had no idea how to use the miles they just have never had a need to you know use a computer. And they can game it you know assistance in that regard you know and all over locations. And you know special effort for those who have limited to distillers and skills you know through the you know through the yes program. Well again you're talking. Employment impact would be goes back to you because. Entergy and others you that you may have jobs available but if people can't read write or go online may even have the skill set but. Just don't know how to go online to doing. They're missing an opportunity. Arjun for help raise themselves out of poverty no longer be announced but also tests are successful. Again life of long long way. And it's all tied in it's all tied in with the economic development education and providing opportunities for for folks who were are willing to work hard. And build a better life for themselves. And I have I have so much respect. For the cuts for the clients and yes because of the courage that it takes to step up and say I can't do this that I wanna learn. And I wanna do something about it and it it takes a tremendous amount of courage I can imagine it to do that and start. Down that path that hoo ray for them because I'm really proud. I end here and I think so many. We had a larger immigration population to more and more for some. English is now a new language in their learning and it's so important to them. Do they fit into yes it's well while we're part of a larger system. Called the work greedy system which is overseen by the Louisiana community college systems. Where it's. Adult education agencies all across the state to provide. Basic literacy like yes does to English as a second language. So when miners can tell us and ask about English as a second language we refer them to partners in towns such as Catholic Charities which does a tremendous job. With that population. It is becoming a bigger issue here I see in my hand neighbor had I have more of my neighbors who struggled to communicate where it. But I want them to get. The basic skills they need to communicate. Yeah I remember going to a school in my neighborhood on report card game I was scared to talk to parents about our program. And I watched how many parents came and who could not speak to the teachers about the report card and someone had to be brought in to translate. And what really touched me is how these parents wanted to be involved they weren't gonna let language stop them government go to the school and show that they care. I think we need to do much better Jabber English as a second language is concerned. I'm other states around us Mississippi and Texas both are doing a better job in terms of investment. But it is something that is a priority of the community college system and we're working on. You building up our numbers and the numbers that we serve in the states we have to do better because. I want parents like I said so that ability to talk to teachers to call 911 if there's an emergency just to be able to communicate on a very basic level. And I think that was interesting. You hear that news when situations arise and parents don't know because they date again don't speak the language in don't have access. Two and may be simple things again is a computer. Or sometimes even telephones that all these things come together. That's going to help. Make people more literate I mean I I can you imagine what. The cell phone now days it's a computer in your pocket right and what I can access and how it can. Help you and again if you are now living in poverty and you don't have access to a cellphone you don't you can't afford to carry one with you. You're less likely to be able. To tell yourself of some of the services that you can find online and now we're back. To the library and life long learning. And Charles how. Are we looking at more computers coming into libraries to. Make them available to people who who can't afford. A computer of their own. Well space is an issue you know there's space limitations that we are looking expanding our. Our capacity through laptops. Now that's a future effort but having those available for training sessions we really look. Focus over the next later this year and beginning when he aging. Bit more formalized organized training classes throughout elaborate system so overall library locations rivers mall so will be able to offer one on one kind of training by reservation. And so we really wanted to be an asset to the community and every door it. One of the surprising. Areas and some of these clients probably also make use of the yes program the homeless and you often about the homeless thing. If any about the library but many are doing very productive things while they're there and we have a very special. Class for homeless. You know individuals were trying to better their digital literacy skills. They really are seeking employment because these are people who are not caring Smartphone around in their target again and you know in order to. Better themselves you know the library of programs like yes it is essential. Stepping stones to you know change the course of their lives. And I don't agree with that because I can see with our walk again. I'm computer assistance from people come in and needs more intensive hour two hours you know for help. We're getting more and more homeless you people who are actively looking for jobs they just need help with a resume or what I'm hearing. Surprisingly often people who come to New Orleans with the promise of a job. They are employed for mountain and the job goes away never stuck in New Orleans with no place to live and no resources on which to draw. So we'll have people who come in with a man up and say can you help me find it. What jobs I can get near to where I'm staying. So it's just a different clientele. That were working with and that the library's work with every day who are actively looking for work. But are facing some real challenges. Patty when you hear about the wonderful things that yes and other programs are doing I have to thank you because Entergy Charles rice so many. You give. To this community into this this state is so many ways. I was looking at something online and I I hope I have the right information here but it says that. Entergy employees and shareholders pledged two point six million dollars and 2016. To help united way chapters improve communities for Entergy. Operates and they are giving back is an integral part of energy commission to add value. For all stakeholders customers owners and employees. And communities and you said that it makes me feel so proud that. And she cares so much all of us are in this room because of a lot of the things that you do how do you go about. Of evaluating where you're going to impact. So it's really really hard because there are so many organizations and groups and causes that are. Addressing critical needs in the community and so how do you say. Yes to this one and and no to that one it's a very very difficult task. We start by focusing on the areas where. We feel we can make the biggest impact which is. Education poverty elimination and environmental programs that we we start with that as a foundation and then we look at what organizations are really doing the best and most effective job. At addressing those those issues. And there's also we work are we involve our employees there are other employees who serve on our contributions committees across all of our companies. And they evaluate their requests that come in from their local area because they know the organizations and they know their community and they know the needs and their communities and so their best position to make those decisions. And I'm sure that when it you're getting a review. I would have to say that it's almost doubled for. You because she added you're getting funding from us that we're getting from energy and so answer taxpayers were going to happy family here or homes or are best. Can make sure that we can do the best in the community. And I think that's important to note. Especially when we're talking about. Individuals here so much promise. They just leave that proverbial hand up not a hand out and literacy if you can learn. On trawl this is some information that you have given you won't tax code please correct me if if it needs to be updated. But it goes back to the need for children we think you know sometimes we talk about children moving through school that maybe they're really not. Learning all that they should. And it says something that investing in children as one of the most cost effective ways to invest in human capital. Very functional illiteracy in New Orleans and switched to earlier stay and it's 44%. This affects everyone even literate. And at that if according actual assessment of adult literacy. And this comes tonight nor on library foundation 66% of students who cannot read professionally. By the end of the fourth grade. We'll end up in jail on welfare. Without additional help. Only 22%. At the scene children. Will be able to catch up. And of course in those assistants have not improved group just I give a presentation however long ago and a terror recent data. And that still very much the case. Simply enter simply lost in the 21 century if you have not mastered basic reading viewers simply laws. And you know the other fourth grade a couple boy is still you know the price you know primary criterion. For determining that future success. That's that's that's incredible and in AZ as he said it impacts you Witter with you yourself or someone in your family. Has the situation of of being deliberate or not because it impacts society. As a whole if you have increased crime and an increased numbers of individuals who cannot sustain themselves. And so we have to say yes to literacy adults and otherwise. One thing though we this has been such a great conversation that we're we're in your car and in time. Police are resource numbers information website Shannon absolutely if anyone would like information about yes programs. Or. Programs anywhere in our region. Yet if fearing Metairie on the North Shore in you wanna know our program is in your local area please call. 5045963842. And will be happy to share that with you that number again is 504. 5963842. And Charles. Well I would direct those who have access to our computers to our website. Which is no library dot org NO LA library in one word dot org and thanks for the voters of New Orleans they grow up in two. Into their neighborhood levers six days a week. Some of them seven days a week. To just ask for basic information. About any of our you know classes or any basic information about the library. And pay for those who are interested in all the good works and energy in our community where should they go Entergy dot com. That's an easy one that it. What would it thank you all for joining me today because I think that's what we've learned literacy is the key to so many things. And those numbers are a little bit staggering frightening we've got to change them. And also how are all ties with Alice which is the newly released Louisiana association of the highways reporting conjunction with you know it southeast Louisiana. About how we're going to help those living in poverty and on the precipice. All and I'll and it's going to be a adult literacy it's going to be programs like this that are going to hell and get them jobs. So I would thank you all for joining us today. Another way of southeast Louisiana has a blueprint for prosperity. To eradicate poverty in our seven bearish region. We're strategically investing in programs initiatives. Collaborations. And efficacy efforts to meet our community's greatest needs. We have a bold vision of equitable communities. Or all individuals are healthy. Educated and economically stable in Jefferson. Orleans plaque amendments Saint Bernard saint Tammany. Ten to Baja and Washington parishes. For more information please visit our website. WWW. United way Selig dot org. Or call area code 5048225540. You can also find design at FaceBook act united ways sealock. Follow us on Twitter and united ways tila. Join united way do is advocate volunteer. Kinect. I'm Jerry Westerfield for united way we all join me live in the united.