Wilmington to Mark Literacy Awareness Month

By: Amara Omeokwe

 WILMINGTON — City officials are teaming up with the Cape Fear Literacy Council (CFLC) to recognize Literacy Awareness Month.

At a meeting Tuesday evening, Wilmington’s City Council made a proclamation designating September as Literacy Awareness Month. According to the proclamation, more than 61,000 adults in Wilmington and New Hanover County are at low levels of literacy.

“The Cape Fear Literacy Council works each year with our local government officials to help raise awareness around the issues of illiteracy in our community and how they affect people’s ability to really participate in our community in a meaningful way,” said Susan Pomeroy, CFLC’s executive director.

According to CFLC, Literacy Awareness Month is celebrated by “thousands of community-based literacy organizations.” Sept. 8 is also recognized as “International Literacy Day.”

Pomeroy says she hopes the awareness campaign will help community members understand that illiteracy affects diverse groups of people.

“There are people who would we never suspect are struggling with literacy issues out in our community and people become very skilled at hiding the deficiencies that they have,” she explained. “It’s very important to give them an opportunity to improve those skills in a confidential way and an individualized way.”

CFLC assists more than 500 adults per year through their programs.

Chiara Cavazzoni, an Italian immigrant, said she began classes five months ago knowing very little English.

“Now, I can speak,” she said. “I can take a conversation with you, for example. I can survive very well. I can go for shopping. And I can stay by myself very well.”

In honor of Literacy Awareness Month, CFLC will hold its 27th annual Spelling Bee for Literacy on Sept. 18.