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International Literacy Day to be celebrated September 28

Loyola press release - September 23, 2002

(New Orleans)— More than twenty member organizations of the Literacy Alliance of Greater New Orleans will unite to celebrate International Literacy Day on Saturday, September 28, 2002, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The event will be held at The Lake Forest Plaza Mall in New Orleans East. The Literacy Alliance, an initiative of the Lindy Boggs National Center for Community Literacy at Loyola University, consists of literacy providers and community organizations from the Greater New Orleans five-parish area (Orleans, Jefferson, St. Tammany, St. Bernard, Plaquemines). The alliance began in response to a critical community need for literacy services in the New Orleans area; members strive to create an awareness of the situation in order to provide better literacy services in New Orleans.

The central ongoing activity of the event will be a literacy fair where Literacy Alliance members and supporting community organizations will share information and answer questions about their programs. Some of the organizations represented include: the Hispanic Apostolate, Dominion and Power Ministries, Goodwill Industries, Even Start Bayou Consortium, Agenda for Children/Covering Kids, Office of the Social Apostolate, New Orleans Outreach, Tulane-Xavier National Center for the Urban Community, Catholic Charities, Xavier University Drexel Center, Project Return, Start the Adventure in Reading, Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, New Orleans Public Library, New Orleans Mission, Hope House, YMCA Educational Services, Orleans Parish School/Teachers Connection, and St. Bernard Adult Education.

The day will feature activities for people of all ages. There will be free books for adults and children; a Children’s Corner area led by Loyola students who are part of the Loyola University Literacy Outreach Program (featuring story time, games and activities, face-painting); representatives from the Finance Authority of New Orleans and the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater New Orleans to give tips on credit, budgeting, and loans for home-buying/renovating; and local authors and poets, including the creative writing of adult learners currently enrolled in literacy programs. The closing entertainment will be provided by storyteller Mama Saba and Shades of Praise, New Orleans’ Interracial Gospel Choir.

The 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey report contains disturbing statistics about literacy:In the United States, percentage of population at Level 1 Literacy: 23%. In Louisiana, 28%, in Orleans Parish, 39%, in Jefferson Parish, 21%, in Plaquemines Parish, 28%, in St. Bernard Parish, 18%.

The Boggs Center seeks to nurture collaborative partnerships between Loyola and its surrounding metropolitan community. Located in the J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library at Loyola, the Boggs Center is dedicated to promoting adult literacy as a vehicle for personal, economic and community empowerment.

International Literacy Day has been celebrated throughout the world since 1966, and this is the second annual celebration in the greater New Orleans area. For more information, contact Lisa O’Neill, 865-7987.