STORY BY ADAM ROGAN
On Nov. 14, the Drake University-supported Adult Literacy Center (ALC) will host an adult spelling bee at the Des Moines Social Club.
Martina Wolf, an AmeriCorps Vista employee with the ALC and a 2013 Drake graduate, explained the goals of the event.
“(The) spelling bee is meant to target Drake faculty and staff and also community members … to raise money, but also awareness of the struggles that those with low literacy skills have,” Wolf said.
To fight illiteracy, the ALC wants to raise $4,000, but fundraising is not their only goal.
“The Adult Literacy Center works with adults who have low literacy skills … some under eighth-grade reading level, to help them increase their self-esteem, increase their literacy and just become more functioning members of society,” Wolf said.
Wolf acknowledged the positive opportunities this brings to Des Moines.
“The Spelling Bee (raises) funds and awareness,” Wolf said. “Obviously, having people building partnerships in the community.”
However, the ALC is not alone in this effort. They have teamed up with the LEAD 100 class: “Influence and Change.”
Hannah Kuhne, senior psychology major, is one of the members of the class.
“We’re doing the spelling bee to raise funding and awareness about what the ALC does,” Kuhne said. “Basically, they combat the low literacy rates in the Des Moines community.”
Carley Castelein a pharmacy major and another class member, talked about her class’s work with the ALC.
“We were able to work with the ALC to do a 360-review as far as what’s working with the Adult Literacy Center and what’s not working,” Castelein said. “From that, we were moving forward to do a fundraiser for them to hopefully raise more money so that they can address these problems.”
Both Kuhne and Castelein mentioned they had not known about the ALC before their class, but they both think it is a cause that deserves more attention.
“I think a lot of students don’t know about the Adult Literacy Center,” Wolf said. “(We’re hoping to get more) students to know about it,” Wolf said.
The ALC is seeking more volunteers, and the Spelling Bee is being held to help raise awareness.
However, improving one’s skills can be difficult.
“They also have jobs and kids and other things going on in life too,” Castelein said.
The Adult Learning Center currently tutors 90 Des Moines adults, and hopes to continue to grow, gain influence, and continue to improve the Des Moines community.