The work being conducted by the Literacy Council Gulf Coast was the topic of discussion at the Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce's monthly luncheon.
On Feb. 28, chamber members and guests met from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at EmJay's Tavern & Grill in Lehigh Acres. The guest speaker was Bob Sorenson, director of the Literacy Council Gulf Coast.
Sorenson gave a presentation about the work the organization is doing in Lehigh and throughout Southwest Florida. The Literacy Council Gulf Coast is a non-profit that operates under the umbrella of the United Way and has been active in the area for over 25 years.
Sorenson explained that the council works closely with local schools to help students whose first language is not English, as well as assists teachers in the classroom, brings authors to the schools and distributes free books. It also hosts events, like reading festivals and family literacy nights, to help connect parents with their children's education.
The organization offers a wide range of services for adults. In addition to literacy classes, it provides GED preparation, U.S. citizenship assistance, and advanced writing and grammar classes.
Sorenson pointed out how there is a high demand for English literacy education in the area.
"What is the need here in Lee County? We have one in five households that speak a language other than English, and a lot of people need to learn English," he said.
When asked what the community could do to help support the council's work, Sorenson reported that volunteers who were willing to learn how to teach English would very valuable.
"Our teachers are volunteers," he said. "You don't need any teaching background; what you need to be a good teacher is good communication skills."
"For the right person it really can be a wonderful experience," Sorenson added.
The chamber also took the time to honor Lee County Sheriff's Office Deputy Christopher Lopez-Burnside as the Officer of the Month. He was recognized for his dedication and vigilance on the job, which recently led to the arrest of a man who was suspected in a string of home robberies in the area.
At the luncheon, members also discussed the chamber's upcoming events.
There will be a Lunch and Learn on March 14. The topic will be the best ways to optimize Internet search engine results for businesses. It is free and open to the public, with a $5 lunch of pizza available.
The chamber will also hold a bowling tournament on March 24 at Bowland Family Entertainment Center. The event will feature prizes and a raffle for participants.
For more information or to register for an event, visit: lehighacreschamber.org/.
The Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce will host its next monthly luncheon on March 28 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at EmJay's Tavern & Grill, at 700 Leeland Heights Blvd. W.
The luncheons are open to the public; there is a $20 program fee.
For more information, call 239-368-3322 or visit: lehighacreschamber.org/.