“A community where adults are empowered by literacy skills to be self-sufficient and to participate in the workforce, education and civic affairs.” This is the vision stated by Skyline Literacy, a nonprofit organization that provides literary assistance to adults. Skyline Literacy was founded in 1987 in Dayton, VA, as a coalition of smaller groups dedicated to providing literary resources and education to adults in the Shenandoah Valley. They expanded their mission to include tutoring non-English speaking immigrants in English, and in May of 2008 they moved to Harrisonburg.
Nancy Magan has been a student at Skyline Literacy since 2009. She moved to the United States from Peru, a country she loves, for better economic opportunities so she could provide a better life for her kids. Nancy understood the demand for the ability to speak English, and enrolled in Skyline Literacy. Ever since her enrollment, Nancy has been able to attend community college and is on pace to complete her masters. She hopes to someday be able to run her own healthcare firm.
Skyline Literacy volunteers Brooke Long and Joe Sinegra emphasized the importance of knowing the dominant language in your community. “It impacts your living situation, your job, any type of relationship you hope to have.”, said Long. Sinegra made a point of stressing the difficulties of learning a second language, and how native speakers hardly notice the intricacies and nuances of the English language that non-speakers have to pay strict attention to.
A discussion about the significance of Skyline Literacy’s role in the community would not be complete without mentioning the impact is has one the lives of the next generation. In a PR video posted to YouTube in 2018, Skyline Literacy said that 72% of their 300 students were parents, and the primary reason that that 72% enrolled was to help build a better life for their kids. The video also says “the single greatest indicator of a child’s success is the literacy level of his or her parents.” Children of immigrants already face an unnecessary number of obstacles in their day to day life, but having at least one English-speaking parent in the household reduces a significant number of those obstacles and entirely erases a handful of others. Parents like Nancy who enroll in Skyline Literacy are able to communicate with teachers, coaches, physicians, pharmacists, and countless other professions whose role in a child’s life is integral to their development.
Skyline Literacy boasts a strong cast of community resource partners, their biggest partner being either the McGaheysville-Massanutten Lions Club or Harrisonburg City Public Schools. They also partner with Blue Ridge Community College, Virginia Career Works, Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, and The Gus Bus.
The website for Skyline Literacy can be found here: http://www.skylineliteracy.org/who-we-are. They can be reached by phone at (540) 433-0505, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and by mail at P.O. Box 1354, Harrisonburg, VA, 22803. Their physical address is 160 N. Mason St., Harrisonburg, VA, 22802.