If free reading and writing lessons for rural and isolated teenagers and adults sounds like a good idea, you can help.
The Rural Youth and Adult Literacy Trust is appealing for more people to volunteer as online literacy coaches.
Trust manager Jo Poland said to mark International Literacy Day last Sunday the trust was asking for a commitment of two hours a week to help change the lives of hundreds of students.
“We provide free reading and writing lessons for rural or isolated teens and adults who can’t get to traditional literacy classes.
“Our volunteer coaches work with students over the phone, by Skype or in person for about three times a week, to help them achieve their reading and writing goals.”
One in 10 New Zealanders struggled with low literacy, which cost about $3 billion in lost economic and social opportunities each year.
More than one million working-age New Zealanders lacked the literacy and numeracy skills to participate fully in work, education and life, she said.
“Not being able to read and write is often an intergenerational issue.
“Mums and dads who can’t read and write can’t help their children with their homework and reading, and so the cycle continues.”
There were many reasons why people left school not able to read and write, and it was almost always not their fault.
“We don’t believe they should struggle for the rest of their lives – rural people need our help.”
The non-profit organisation had more than 60 volunteer coaches but were looking for more to help.
Full training was provided and the commitment was two hours a week.
“You can take the lessons at a time that works for you and your student and if you need to take a break at times, for a month or two, that is OK too.”
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer online coach, phone 0800 891-339 or visit seekvolunteer.co.nz.