Medina Literacy Zone staff give out backpacks, back-to-school supplies

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 August 2021 at 4:58 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – The staff of the Medina Literacy Zone held an open house today at the education center of the Holy Trinity Church at 211 Eagle St. They also gave out backpacks and back-to-school supplies.

The staff members include, from left: Julie Johnson, case manager and job readiness training instructor; Carolyn Graff, literacy instructor and TASC examiner; Shelly Smith, literacy instructor for TASC; and Melinda Grimble, literacy instructor for TASC.

TASC stands for Test Assessing Secondary Completion Examinations, a program formerly known as the General Education Development Program (GED).

The Medina literacy Zone is program through the Orleans/Niagara BOCES. Today’s program included representatives from some of the zone’s 40 partners in the community. Some of those organizations include Community Action of Orleans & Genesee, the Orleans County Mental Health Department, Orleans County YMCA and United Way.

There were 55 backpacks available for students. The Medina Area Association of Churches paid for 25 of the backpacks and staff at the Medina Literacy Zone paid for 30. The Orleans/Niagara BOCES paid for the school supplies.

“We know many of the parents are struggling financially due to Covid and we wanted to take some stress off of them,” said Melinda Grimble, a literacy instructor in the program.

This is the classroom for Shelly Smith, a literacy instructor for TASC. She hangs stars from the ceiling with names of recent students who completed the program and passed the TASC.

Her students range in age from 16 to 60. Last year during the Covid pandemic the Medina Literacy Zone distributed 30 laptops so students could do online learning and attend Zoom videoconferencing sessions.

“Our first goal is to build confidence and hope that they can do this,” Smith said. “Then we build their skills.”

The program has a coffee cart and a $500 donation from MAAC keeps that stacked for much of the school year.

For more information on classes at the Medina Literacy Zone, call (585) 798-1420.