The Literacy Council of Fort Bend County (LCFBC) celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2017. This special milestone is an ideal time to express the Council’s sincere gratitude to the many people in our community who have shared their time, talent and treasure to help develop and enhance literacy services.
The Literacy Council exists to improve family, community and professional lives through adult literacy education. We are grateful that the community recognizes that literacy is the key to personal freedom and the maintenance of a democratic society.
As a former executive director of the Council, I was privileged to observe first-hand the many hours, and even years, of service given by the unsung heroes of LCFBC, its volunteer tutors. In addition, the Council benefits from a team of strong and capable board members and committee volunteers who willingly share their skills and expertise; outstanding and hardworking staff members; and you in the community who provide such generous support. This team effort is essential to the success of the Council as the Council is truly a community organization in the truest sense of the word. Most important of all, are the students at the Council whose dedication and determination inspire us all! These adults have the courage to stand up and work to improve their own lives and those of their families and, in doing so, they are also improving and enriching our entire community.
It is important that we remember the strong founding board that formulated the vision and mission for the organization around Lois Lichliter’s kitchen table in 1987. When I joined the staff in 1992, it had grown to an organization that operated out of one room on the Wharton County Junior College in Sugar Land campus. Staff and tutors were able to operate in this tight space with tutoring taking place in vacant classrooms when the college schedule allowed and even, in some instances, in a bookroom!
Tutoring also took place in dozens and dozens of off-site venues thanks to the generosity of county libraries, churches and businesses. In 1996 a miracle occurred when the grand opening of First Colony Mall benefitted literacy. This event raised awareness about literacy services and also provided funds to make it possible for the Council to move to the former police facility on Brooks Street. This opportunity provided five on-site rooms and a wonderful landmark, Imperial Sugar Company, to guide adults with low levels of literacy to our building. With the new facility, the opportunity to provide additional services became a reality.
As the organization grew and expanded, it became evident that more space was needed in order for the Council to meet the literacy needs of an increasingly diverse population of adults in the community. Once again, volunteers rose to the occasion and a capital campaign was launched in order to purchase a suitable building. Through lead gifts from The George Foundation and Houston Endowment, along with generous donations from the community, the Literacy Center at 12530 Emily Court opened its doors in 2000. Today the Center continues to be a base for the vibrant, meaningful work of the Council, which reaches out into numerous settings across the county. If students cannot come to the center, the Council endeavors to meet them in their nearby neighborhoods thanks to a community that has, since the early beginnings of the LCFBC, responded to the Council’s calls for assistance.
The ongoing commitment of our community to the services of the Council has sustained the Literacy Council for 31 years and will continue to do so. It is with your continued support, the Council is helping adults achieve such goals as: obtaining a better job; receiving a job promotion; attaining GED certification; becoming a citizen; helping a child with homework; and even going on to receive a college degree. As we look back on our 30 years, I am honored to share the organization’s deep gratitude for your ongoing dedication and support of Literacy Council students and services.