LOGAN – Alice Sheppard, the director of the Bridgerland Literacy program, tells the story of a beautiful Simolean lady trying to pass her GED. She walks into the office struggling with a basic English language principle. Sheppard said they taught her a basic thing she needed to know to be successful, and she was.
“A young man from Guatemala came to the office because he couldn’t grasp the concept of a three-point turn,” Shepard said. “We sat down and diagrammed it on a piece of paper, and he left knowing the concept.”
Shepard enjoys working with students one on one, but she wants to move the learning towards a classroom environment.
“I thought we should be doing classes,” she said. “I think people can sometimes learn better as a group.”
When someone asks a question maybe another student will have the same question but be afraid to ask.
“Some people can’t get stuff out of books, they need someone to teach them,” Sheppard said. “I think when we have several people trying to learn the same thing like the GED it would work better.”
When fully staffed, volunteers are matched with a student for one-on-one tutoring in an open, safe, and confidential environment.
“We use researched and evidence-based materials to teach students,” she said. “I looked through a lot of teaching and learning programs before she found this one.”
“COVID is killing me. I want to meet with my students,” Sheppard said. “I want to teach more adults in a classroom setting.”
Tutor training and teaching materials are provided at no cost. Every important social issue is impacted by how a person reads, writes, and does basic math; they have the power to change people’s lives.
“Right now, the only place we can hold a class is at the Utah State University Center for Persons with Disabilities,” she said “When the Logan Library opens I would like to get a class going there as well as one here at (Bridgerland) Technical College.”
The Bridgerland Literacy program started in the Richmond Library when a handful of volunteers and students recognized some older adults needed help with basic literacy skills.
Using a cardboard box on a table, Cindy Yurth rounded up some volunteers and used a small stipend from VISTA and donations from Pepperidge Farm to purchase books for the program.
The small program grew and in 1988 the organization moved to Logan.
They used to be located in the Logan Library and held a variety of classes, then they moved to Bridgerland Technical College West Campus.