Newton READS receives $10K grant

COVINGTON -- In a time when many nonprofits are struggling to stay afloat, Newton County READS recently got a big boost in the form of a $10,000 grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

The grant will primarily be used to expand the program so that volunteers can be on site at the Covington Housing Authority two days a week, according to Executive Director Renee Jones. Laptops and other supplies will be purchased with the funds.

"It is a Godsend. Just the fact that we got it was a surprise," said Jones, who applied for the grant, but didn't know it had been awarded until she opened an envelope containing the $10,000 check. "It means we'll be a able to keep running. It means we'll be able to help more students."

Newton County READS helps adults improve their literacy skills and/or earn a GED certificate through a volunteer tutoring program.

Jones said there has long been a demand for a tutoring site at the Housing Authority. Newton READS volunteers will be on site from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Thursdays of each week beginning around August.

"The Dollar General Foundation is pleased to support Newton County READS' adult literacy program, which helps others better their lives through education," said Rick Dreiling, Dollar General chairman and CEO.

Jones said the grant doesn't just benefit the organization, but the entire county, as those who go through the program become employable and contribute to the economy. They're also more inclined to get involved in volunteer work after having been helped themselves, she said.

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation's adult literacy grant supports nonprofit organizations that provide adult literacy services such as adult-based education, general education diploma preparation or English as a second language.

Since its inception in 1993, the foundation has awarded more than $47.2 million in grants across Dollar General's 35-state market area. The grants provide program support to nonprofit efforts to reach low-level literacy adults and their families. In addition to cash grants, Dollar General's in-store Learn to Read brochures have offered free literacy referrals to more than 53,000 people. For more information on the foundation, visit www.dollargeneral.com.