History

PCLC Co-Founder and Life Board Member Lane Partner. Lane has championed the cause of literacy in Perry County since the early 80s. She has served as a Board President and a Race Committee Member for many years.

Life Board Member Anne Chappelka joined the Board in 1993 and sadly passed away in Fall of 2021. 

Long time Race for Reading Committee member Dale McGuire in a local story from 2001.

An early Race for Reading committee.

The GED changed radically in 2014.

Beloved tutor Larry Sheibley-Beasom made math class less intimidating for many years.

PCLC received the Community Impact Award from the Partnership for Better Health. Pictured are Morgan Tressler, Kathleen Bentley and Patti McLaughlin at the awards ceremony at Dickinson College.

The Story of Perry County Literacy Council

For more than 35 years, PCLC has evolved to meet the growing and changing needs of Perry County residents. From our humble beginnings as a Laubach Literacy partner to high school equivalency preparation and workforce programs to our new social work office, our top priority has always been to help people to realize their goals of self-sufficiency and independence. The following is a brief overview of how PCLC got started and how the organization has changed over the years.

Years of Learning

Our History

Beginnings

Co-Founder and Life Board Member Lane Partner has been around since the beginning. When asked why she has chosen to stay involved with PCLC for all of this time, she said, “My reason for staying involved have changed over the years. I have a lot of reasons right now. I have never seen an organization that can take care of people the way [PCLC] does and gets the results they get.”

In the early 80s, Dale Lesperance approached Partner with her concerns about illiteracy in Perry County. With a $100 grant from the New Bloomfield Civic Club, the two organized a Laubach Literacy training for around 10-12 people. “We were just a group of people with no formal organization whatsoever,” Partner said. Juniata County Literacy Council loaned PCLC some books to get started.

Partner and Lesperance went to local churches and clubs to spread the word that literacy tutoring was available in Perry County. Partner met with interested students and then paired them with tutors with whom she thought they would do well. “That first year we worked with 12 or 15 people. Father Larry at St. Bernard’s let us use his house,” Partner said. “It went on very informally like that for a few years.”

The group learned that the State was offering grants to help literacy organizations continue and expand their work. Partner wrote the State, and PCLC received its first grant of about $8,000 and it was able to hire their first staff. “There were many times those first years that I wasn’t sure we were going to make it,” she said.

Eventually, when the grant amount reached $25,000, PCLC was able to hire Wendy Lindstrom as Executive Director. “Wendy stayed with us for about 2 or 3 years, and she got us pretty well organized,” said Partner. “Mary Landis donated a little storefront to us on Second Street [Newport]; there was no heat or anything.”

 Around 1984, PCLC relocated to the basement of the Newport Public Library. “Wendy did the 501 (c)(3),” said Partner. “We put together a board and a budget – PCLC was running well.”

Next Steps

1993 marked a time of major change for PCLC. Carol Steiner became the new Executive Director, and she brought with her several ideas that would revolutionize PCLC’s work. Her top priority was to help the students and the staff to become computer literate. Steiner also recognized the need for PCLC to undertake a significant fundraising effort.

Meanwhile, PCLC Life Board Member Anne Chappelka moved to the area and immediately became interested in PCLC’s mission. She promptly joined the Board at almost the same time as Steiner became Executive Director. Sadly, Anne passed in the Fall of 2021.

Partner had rotated off of the Board for less than one year when she was convinced to come back out of retirement. She describes sitting down at her first meeting with Steiner. “Carol told me, ‘I’m good at fundraising…I just love fundraising.’ I thought, ‘Oh my God! This woman is a miracle’…I mean, we’d done bake sales – that’s what we did for fundraising!”

That’s when the Race for Reading was born, and it became PCLC’s most ambitious fundraiser. A dedicated committee of around 20 volunteers from all over Perry County came together to support PCLC’s work, which had also grown significantly over the years. Chappelka remembers back to that time, saying, “Our main source of fundraising income was selling ads for the Race program.”

The committee didn’t realize it at the time, but they had sown the seeds for PCLC’s first public relations campaign. Selling ads door-to-door around the county, allowed volunteers to explain PCLC’s mission and helped to galvanize the supporters’ commitment to the cause. Each year, as the list of supporters, grew, the Race quickly became the social event of Perry County, attracting 400-500 guests at Penn National Race Track in Grantville.

Everything was not always rosy for PCLC. Tragedy struck in November 1997 when Steiner suddenly passed away following a car accident. Chappelka, who was Board President, happened to be the only member of the Board who was not already working full-time, so she graciously signed on as acting Director until Steiner’s replacement was found. “Fortunately, Carol was well-respected at the State level,” said Chappelka. “Her connections made it possible for the Department of Education to send people to train us so that we could keep going.”

By September 2000, PCLC had outgrown its home in the basement of the Newport Public Library and moved to its new quarters on Market Street in Newport. By that time, the paid staff had grown to five part-time employees and about 150 volunteers. PCLC was serving about 200 clients with adult literacy, computer skills training, ESL, GED preparation, prison GED, and participation in Head Start programs.

During the tenure of Executive Director Susan Risner, the Board of Newport School District voted unanimously in October 2003 to offer its facilities as a GED test site for Perry County. Before this landmark decision, Perry County residents had to drive to Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) to take their GED tests. In 2005, more than 65 adults received their high school equivalency diplomas at the Newport District site. The GED was booming in Perry County.

Breaking Down Barriers

When Risner retired in 2007, Kathleen Bentley was hired as Executive Director. “Sue was so organized, and she started me off from a very good place,” said Bentley. Risner continued as a devoted tutor at PCLC until just before her untimely passing from cancer a few years later.

Bentley’s 35-year award-winning teaching career in Special Education at Loysville Youth Development Center made her an ideal candidate to take PCLC to the next level. Her philosophy of treating everyone with dignity and compassion helped to gain the trust of her students — which enabled them, in turn, to trust in the process. However, her work hadn’t prepared her for the lack of supportive services available to Perry County residents. “At YDC, my students had everything they needed – food, clothing, and housing,” said Bentley. “As I started my work in the public sector, I couldn’t believe how many of our students were going without basic necessities. It broke my heart.”

Bentley immediately resolved to find ways to help people to move forward toward their goals of self-sufficiency. In 2010, PCLC relocated to a much larger space on South Fifth Street. There, she was able to invite partnering agencies to co-locate with PCLC to provide workforce assistance and other mutually-beneficial services. Also, sharing expenses made the partnerships cost-effective. Bentley also established a scholarship fund so that PCLC could pay for at least half of the cost of GED testing.

Bentley noticed that, in a rural region such as Perry County, the lack of public transportation meant that many people who wanted to pursue their high school equivalency couldn’t get to class. So Bentley wrote a grant with Highmark to provide a new van for Perry Apex Services Unlimited (PASU) and funds to allow people to receive a door-to-door ride to PCLC for as long as they needed to earn their GED. “PASU’s mission meshed perfectly with ours,” said Bentley. “Their drivers are in a program that helps them to find work, and we are thrilled to support their service delivery model and provide our students with a ride to classes in the process.”

Another urgent need that shocked Bentley was the sheer number of county residents who, for one reason or another, did not have a photo ID, birth certificate, or social security card. “You can’t get a job, a bank account, housing or much else without proper ID,” said Bentley. “I couldn’t believe that people in need were being denied vital services because they didn’t have these documents. They cost so little, but they can open so many doors.” Bentley wrote for funds to get any or all of these items for a single family member or an entire household.

Often the need arose for discretionary funding to help clients with other employment support services and Bentley found the money for that, too. “Many times, just a few dollars can solve a problem that unlocks the key to success,” said Bentley.

Teaching Generations

Modern Times

In 2011, the Council joined the Tri-County Adult Education Consortium, a collaboration of adult education providers funded by the PA Department of Education Bureau of Postsecondary and Adult Education to serve Dauphin, Cumberland and Perry Counties.

PCLC started offering various nationally-recognized classes, such as: Teknimedia, which provides training in the Microsoft Office suite of products; National Retail Federation customer service classes; and National Restaurant Association Food Handler certification. The courses, which are offered at no cost to the students, provide credentials for students to use in the pursuit of a job.

Most recently, our supportive Board of Directors has started the PCLC Endowment Fund in honor of Kathleen Bentley. With funding from the Perry County Commissioners, we have opened a social work office that offers a full-time social worker for all residents. And finally, we’re putting the finishing touches on an early childhood resource center which will provide childcare for our students as they work on their high school equivalency diploma and job searching efforts.

With the help of its supporters, PCLC continues to grow and thrive. For more information on these and other services that we provide, please see the Programs tab.

Meet Our StaffGwen Soult

GED Instructor and Student-Tutor Coordinator

Gwen Soult joined PCLC in August 2022 as our GED Instructor and Student-Tutor Coordinator. She is a graduate of Bucknell University with a BA in Sociology and an MA in Human and Community Development from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she was also a lead teaching assistant. In 2011, Gwen returned to Bucknell as an adjunct lecturer and simultaneously began as owner/operator of Wayside Acres, a goat and dairy farm in Newport, PA.

Meet Our StaffJennifer Murling

ERAP Coordinator

Jennifer Murling joined the PCLC’s staff in March 2022 as Coordinator for the Perry County Commissioner’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). “PCLC partners with so many Perry County agencies. I like that when I have a client who needs a service that PCLC doesn’t offer, I can just make a call and connect the client with someone who can help.”

Meet Our StaffRenee Derr

Prison GED Instructor

Renee Derr became enamored with PCLC’s adult education program when she brought her son to get his GED. She had recently been forced to retire from teaching after being diagnosed with a disabling condition. When a part-time opportunity to teach adult education presented itself at Perry County Prison arose, Renee was delighted: “Everyone [at PCLC] is so nice—I just kind of got swooped up in it all, and here I am teaching again!”

Renee earned her BS in Education from Penn State University and her Masters of Education from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She is PCLC’s adult education instructor at Perry County Prison.

Meet Our StaffChristie Caswell

Grant Writer and Assessment Specialist

Christie Caswell’s seemingly lighthearted motto, “Make good choices!” has become a trademark during her 25 years in workforce development, local government, sales, emergency services, and housing. However, Christie firmly believes the phrase can take on a deeper meaning: “Every day we all come to a fork in the road, and making a good choice doesn’t always mean making the easiest choice.  We know immediate gratification isn’t going to get most of us to the finish line.” She joined PCLC’s staff as Grant Writer and Assessment Specialist in July 2022 knowing that she would have the opportunity to work side-by-side with our clients and students to help them reach their goals. Christie has her BS in Business Administration from Millersville University.

Agency PartnershipPerry County Family Center

Established in 1992 through a partnership with Capital Area Headstart, the West Perry School District, and various local community agencies, the Perry County Family Center strives to promote the positive development, health, and well-being of young children throughout Perry County. The Center seeks to strengthen family life and provide a place for families to find information and support that will help them make important decisions about their families. Some of the services provided by the Center include parenting classes, financial literacy classes and car seat loans—as well as the UWCR Prosperity Center, which offers help to those applying for various state and federal benefits for their families, such as food stamps, cash assistance and health care coverage.

Agency PartnershipPCLC Community Reentry Project

PCLC collaborates with the Perry County Prison and the faith-based community to offer a Community Reentry Program to inmates who voluntarily commit to the program. PCLC is committed to a mission that extends to all Perry County residents, including the incarcerated. The Perry County Prison has been an outstanding partner, supporting adult education with GED® classes for inmates. In addition, a case management model addresses individual reentry needs and barriers. A faith-based support group follows each class, promoting values and personal commitment to rehabilitation. Each inmate pairs with a mentor from the faith-based community who will act as a sponsor as the inmate reenters the community. Private funding from the faith-based community and foundations supports this project. Community Reentry Project participants will have access to various PCLC community programs as they reenter.

Agency PartnershipPerry Housing Partnership (Transitional Housing Services)

The Perry County Housing Partnership develops affordable housing opportunities for Perry County residents, including low-income, disabled, elderly and/or homeless individuals and families.

Agency PartnershipPerry Human Services

Perry Human Services provides weekly counseling sessions (by appointment) for Perry County residents recovering from addiction. In addition, they offer cash assistance, food stamps, medical assistance and emergency fuel for lower-income families, as well as referrals for training, education and jobs.

Agency PartnershipTri County Community Action

Tri-County Community Action offers various services toinformation and referral services, family self-sufficiency, case management

Agency PartnershipCommunity Engagment

The work we do at PCLC would not be possible without support from the community in which we live and work. Therefore, we make it a point to contribute to that community by getting involved with numerous initiatives that, like us, are working to improve the lives of Perry County residents.

PCLC’s community engagements include:

Member—Perry County Family Service Partnership Board
Board Member—Perry County Chamber of Commerce
Member—Perry County 2015 Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee
Member—South Central Workforce Investment Board Local Management Committee
Member—Perry County Human Services Office Direct Service Team
Member—Perry County Health Coalition
Member—Perry Empowerment Task Force
Board Member—Tutors of Literacy in the Commonwealth
Advisor for Adult Education, Workforce Development and Rural Access
Community Referral Agency with hundreds of contacts
1,000+ supporters/donor

Agency PartnershipEDSI (Educational Data Systems)

EDSI EARN—Welfare program that provides clients with cash and food stamps.

EDSI Career Advisor—EDSI receives state and federal funding used to pay for both on-the-job and classroom training for PCLC students. In order to be eligible for training, a client either must be low-income or have been dislocated due to a closing, firing or downsizing.

Youth Program

EDSI Workforce Innovations Opportunities Act (WIOA)

Participants enroll in WIOA to obtain training and/or employment. All WIOA services are provided onsite.

EDSI Jobs Connections

EDSI Job Club – Job Club is held two times every month (usually the first and third Thursdays of each month) and is a requirement for on-the-job training. The club offers various workshops that help students explore and navigate the world of employment.

EDSI Employment Consultant/Job Developer – These consultants talk with potential employers about openings for job-seeking students, which are subsequently posted on the CareerLink website.

Tests of Adult Basic Education – Onsite

ACT WorkKeys® Testing – Onsite

Pearson VUE Authorized Test Center – Career Certification Testing

CareerLink® and CWDS support

Agency PartnershipOVR

The Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) is a state agency that helps individuals with disabilities help themselves to prepare for, begin, and maintain successful careers. OVR case managers are available by appointment at PCLC.

Grant PartnershipDollar General Literacy Foundation

Established in 1993 in honor of Dollar General co-founder J.L. Turner (who was functionally illiterate) the Dollar General Literacy Foundation commits itself to assisting individuals of all ages receive the education they need to access post-secondary education and steady employment. The foundation has awarded over $110 million in grants to nonprofits and schools that have helped more than 6.8 million people learn to read, learn English, or prepare for high school equivalency testing.

Grant PartnershipPNC Foundation

A partner of PCLC since 2013, the PNC Foundation is committed to the enrichment and growth of the communities it serves as well as empowering people in those markets to maximize their human potential. The foundation recognizes that communities thrive and flourish through creative problem-solving and seeks to contribute the funds needed to seed the ideas, support the initiatives and encourage the leadership of those organizations where imagination and determination are at work enhancing the lives of the people they serve. As part of its partnership with PCLC, the PNC Foundation backs the initiative that supports our computer-based testing site, which provides Perry County residents with sustainable local access to GED testing. PNC’s support also extends to financial literacy classes with local PNC employees, who provide volunteer instruction on topics such as budgeting, savings and financial education. PNC provides these services in collaboration with the United Way of the Capital Region Prosperity Center in Perry County.

Grant PartnershipHighmark

The Highmark initiative was created to recognize organizations that demonstrate the proven ability to make an impact in diverse rural and urban neighborhoods where there may be minority populations, individuals with a disability, veterans or displaced workers seeking career opportunities and advancements.

Highmark recognizes the significant barriers to self-sufficiency faced by undereducated and unemployed youth and young adults. As a business with interest in improving the conditions in communities in their service areas, Highmark demonstrates their commitment to economic development and quality of life, granting funding to the Perry County Literacy Council for youth and young adult career awareness and development, training and job placement.

Supporting a collaborative delivery of services, Highmark has funded the purchase of a vehicle for Perry Apex Services Unlimited (PASU) and transportation accounts for 20 Perry County youth (ages 18 – 25) to travel to PCLC classes as well as to training and employment interviews and appointments. A Program Coordinator supports students as they obtain workforce credentials and transition to training and/or employment. Highmark recognizes the transportation and access barrier in a rural community and therefore supports this project targeting young people in these areas.

Grant PartnershipPerry County Community Foundation

The Perry County Community Foundation (PCCF), established in 1987, is a nonprofit public charity and a regional foundation of the Foundation for Enhancing Communities (TFEC). The PCCF makes grants to nonprofit organizations that serve residents of Perry County. PCCF also serves as a vehicle for individuals, companies, foundations and charitable organizations to establish funds that will support the civic, social, educational and cultural well-being of Perry County residents. The Foundation ensures that all gifts, ranging from a few dollars to a few thousand, will work to improve the quality of life of Perry County residents both now and in the future. The Community Foundation has been a generous supporter of PCLC; their support funds innovative programs that address growing and changing needs within our rural community, and their funding model provides guidance and support for new programs aimed at building the service capacity of our nonprofit organization. 

Grant PartnershipHarold Greaney Charitable Trust

Established to support various nonprofit organizations throughout Perry County, the Harold Greaney Charitable Trust distributes discretionary funds to those nonprofits that demonstrate the greatest level of financial need. The trust has offered a great deal of support to PCLC—particularly via the James and Melinda Marley Emergency Needs Fund, which provides many of our clients and students with emergencies that require financial aid. Such situations might include purchasing a gas card in order to drive to appointments or interviews or paying a car repair bill.

Grant PartnershipTFEC Women's Fund

An initiative by the Foundation for Enhancing Communities, the TFEC Women’s Fund targets low-income women in search of steady work. As a partner of TFEC, we at PCLC offer classes that help these women earn National Retail Federation (NRF) certifications and become proficient in Microsoft Office.

Grant PartnershipDonald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Foundation

Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler established this foundation in their names in 1966 to benefit charitable, religious, scientific, literary, and/or educational ventures, especially those that operate in central or eastern Pennsylvania. The Stabler Foundation provides grants for educational institutions, parochial schools and nonprofit hospitals and medical facilities. The Foundation also makes grants to private organizations and institutions that provide services and assistance to the mentally, physically or developmentally impaired or disabled; people suffering or recovering from drug or alcohol abuse; and the elderly and financially disadvantaged. 

Grant PartnershipCommunity Aid

PCLC is a proud partner of Community Aid, a charitable organization whose nonprofit partners agree to allow Community Aid to place one of their clothing collection bins—recognizable by their tan color and three helping hands on the side—on their property or other public locations. The donated clothing placed in the bins is removed several times each week and sold in Community Aid thrift stores. Based on the weight of the clothing in each bin, a particular nonprofit is awarded with a quarterly cash donation per pound; PCLC uses this donation to support our scholarship fund. In addition, partners receive Care Cards (clothing vouchers) for the needy in their area; these cards can be used in any one of Community Aid’s thrift stores. Following an introductory period of partnership, a nonprofit partner becomes eligible to apply for grants during announced application periods. Community Aid’s partnerships with local nonprofits has helped these organizations continue to improve the quality of life for local individuals and families.

Grant PartnershipLawrence And Julia Hoverter Charitable Foundation

The Lawrence and Julia Hoverter Charitable Foundation, with roots in Perry County, has been a generous longtime supporter of PCLC. Their funding has allowed our agency to maximize the numbers of residents it serves; it supports programs that have allowed countless students to obtain GED and workforce credentials, as well as to overcome transportation and employment barriers.

Meet Our StaffRuss Hulslander

Customer Service Representative

Russ Hulslander joined PCLC in 2017 as a Customer Service Representative. When anyone walks into PCLC, Russ will likely be the first person they’ll meet—he’s responsible for connecting our clients and students with someone who can help. Russ assists with IdentoGO Fingerprinting and proctors HiSET testing and takes great joy in helping clients complete electronic applications and forms. He’s also a Navy veteran, and we thank him for his service to our country and our clients.

Meet Our StaffLinda Stawser

Receptionist

For nearly 20 years, Linda Strawser worked in the field of customer service. In 2017, she brought her vast experience to PCLC, where she helps with IdentoGO Fingerprinting, answers the phone, and assists customers. Linda believes in the work that PCLC does and is fond of saying, “It’s a great place to work. Until I started working here, I was sitting at home alone every day—I can honestly say that PCLC saved my life.”

Meet Our StaffJamey Deiter

Assistant Office Manager

PCLC Receptionist and Assistant Office Manager, Jamey Deiter’s motto is “Don’t wait for opportunity—create it.” In 2016, Jamey did just that when she asked if PCLC needed help answering phones and assisting customers. We hired her on the spot and never looked back. Jamey loves working at PCLC for many reasons, but mostly, she says, “Because I’m proud of the support services we offer that put people on a path for success”.

Meet Our StaffJerry Barrett

Workforce Instructor

Since January 2011, Jerry Barrett has served as PCLC’s Workforce Instructor, teaching National Retail Federation Customer Service classes and Teknimedia Digital Literacy. In 2014, with the GED’s transition to an all-digital test delivery model, Jerry became a Pearson Vue Test Center Proctor. Jerry earned his BS in Education from Penn State University.

Meet Our StaffRobert Isenberg

Fingerprinting Tech

Rob Isenberg has managed PCLC’s IdentoGO Fingerprinting site since 2017. Rob’s excellent customer service skills and efficiency have earned our site such a great reputation in the region that clients routinely come from as far as Selinsgrove and Chambersburg for fingerprinting. Rob is proud that the site now generates a profit that supports PCLC’s many services. His favorite thing about PCLC is learning about what we can do to assist Perry County residents. “I’ve worked here for over four years, and I’m constantly amazed by all the services we offer,” he says.

Meet Our StaffEmma Groff

Student Support Coordinator

PCLC Social Worker and Intake Specialist Emma Groff’s motto is: “When you get tired, learn to rest—not quit. Emma likes that no two days are ever the same working at PCLC and that she can do so much to help her clients. “I have access to many support services that I can offer to support Perry County residents as they overcome a wide variety of barriers to success. Some may need only one service, while others may need many—but it’s a great comfort to me that I can use my discretion to figure out the best ways to help.”

Emma earned her Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from HACC and her BS in Early Childhood Education from Eastern University. Before joining PCLC in July 2021, Emma worked for the United Way as an Educational Liaison.

Meet Our StaffLauren Kerlin

Early Childhood Outreach Specialist

In April 2019, Lauren Kerlin joined PCLC as our Early Childhood Coordinator to help us open our Early Childhood Resource Center. Lauren operates our childcare center, helps parents find suitable childcare options, coordinates evening activities for preschool children and their parents, and provides opportunities for PCLC students to enroll their children in Head Start and other services which help to ensure that every child is ready for school.

Meet Our StaffLeslie Heimbaugh

Assistant Director and Development Officer

Leslie Heimbaugh began her career at PCLC as a part-time Office Manager in 2009. Since then, she became full-time and added GED Proctor, HiSET Proctor, Scholarship and Transportation Coordinator, and Development Officer to her list of titles. After earning a BA in Communications from Central Penn College in 2022, she was promoted to Assistant Director. Leslie says, “Once I started working at PCLC, I knew immediately what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Helping people to meet their goals of self-sufficiency is my passion.”

Before she started at PCLC, Leslie owned and operated a catering/baking business and worked as an Art Director for WITF and many regional advertising agencies.

Meet Our StaffKathleen Bentley

Executive Director

“Do the best you can for as many as you can for as long as you can.” PCLC’s Executive Director Kathleen Bentley’s 50+ year career in public service demonstrates her firm belief in this powerful sentiment. Kathleen began her work with PCLC in 2007, after retiring only a few months earlier from a 35-year-career as a teacher and reading specialist at Loysville Youth Development Center (LYDC). While her adjudicated LYDC students had all the material comforts they needed—items such as clothing, food, shelter, and transportation to appointments—many of her students and clients at PCLC had nothing. They could study and prepare for their high school equivalency tests, but several students couldn’t afford to pay to take the test or get a ride to take it. Kathleen knew right away that she needed to gather funds that she could use to remove these and other barriers for her students—and that’s when everything changed. Once she informed public and private supporters of the need, those donors responded generously and PCLC’s support services program was born.

Kathleen earned her BA in Special Education from Hasting College and her Masters of Education from Shippensburg. She has received many honors throughout her career, including Correctional Education Teacher of the Year both nationally and internationally; A Lifetime Achievement from The Conference for Women-Be Extraordinary; and the 2019 Healthcare Hero Award from the Pennsylvania Health Access Network.

The Stories of RedemptionLives Changed

High school was difficult for John Banks. Though never bullied, he couldn’t stand how fellow students treated each other and felt like he simply didn’t fit in. Anxious and frustrated, John spoke with his family about his concerns. This led to trying charter school and then traditional schooling once more, until the pandemic hit.

“We were right back to the same Zoom sessions that didn’t work with the charter school,” said Jeanette. “That was the clincher, so I thought, ‘Okay – here’s what we’re going to do.”

John’s parents recommended that he go to Perry County Literacy Council (PCLC) for classes to earn his high school equivalency diploma.

“My parents thought that I should try it out,” said John. “My mom was worried because she knew that I didn’t always get all my work done in school, but she knew that I cared about getting my diploma – and she had faith in me.”

John loves coming to PCLC. Since entering the program last September, he has completed three of the four tests required to earn his high school equivalency diploma.

Other Ways to GiveDonate by Mail

At PCLC, we work to provide educational programs for Perry County residents and families that enable them to better function as productive and responsible citizens. Within this process, your donations and gifts help us continue to provide these classes and resources to each resident. Overall, your gift can help change a life forever.

PCLC offers many options for donating, but if you prefer to make your gift by check through mail, please send it to:

Perry County Literacy Council
P.O. Box 37, Newport, PA 17074

We look forward to continuing our work with your help!

The Value of Your DonationWhy Give to PCLC?

A donation to PCLC means more than just money; it means a changed life in Perry County and in some cases, the changed life of an entire family. Your donation keeps our mission going and helps us continue to educate those looking to improve their skill level in order to pursue a better future. 

Here's how your donation can help: 

Your donation stays in Perry County and solves problems. It helps reduce the county's reliance on unemployment, public assistance, and housing subsidies by heightening the education levels of residents. 

Even more, your donation pays it forward and helps create new pathways to jobs that pay. Specifically, every adult who earns a GED contributes an additional $60,000 in tax revenue over a lifetime. 

To see specifically how your donation impacts a life, check out our info graph below.