One student at a time, Beyond Literacy is working to help adults achieve their goals and advance their dreams.
Serving 1,300 Philadelphians each year, Beyond Literacy seeks to uplift the city’s adult learning population, including those who need their high school diploma and those who are developing literacy skills. Beyond Literacy also helps students enter training programs and find jobs with family-sustaining wages.
“Our students come to us from all walks of life. Each individual has a different story,” says Beyond Literacy CEO Kimmell Proctor. “Their bravery and resilience are the common threads that pull them all together.”
Beyond Literacy teaches multiple courses to adult learners across three campuses in Philadelphia. Classes—including English as a second language, GED (high school equivalency diploma) course requirements, and digital literacy—serve adults furthering their education and working to re-enter or enhance their contribution to the workforce.
“Before Beyond Literacy was formed, we existed as two longstanding, experienced nonprofits—Center for Literacy and Community Learning Center, which together had 87 years of adult literacy experience,” says Proctor. “United we have a greater reach within the community. We now have three combined sites and some mobile programs to really have that citywide reach that we’re going for.”
At an event last month celebrating Comcast’s partnership with Beyond Literacy, Comcast announced it would provide 500 laptop computers and thousands of dollars in grant support to Beyond Literacy to support adult learners.
“These adult learners are working to achieve their goals and dreams,” says Bret Perkins, Comcast Vice President of External and Government Affairs. “Providing this support allows us the opportunity to be a small part of that. We decided to do this because we know that good things will come from supporting such motivated individuals.”
At the event, students were thrilled to receive their computers, knowing that these tools will make an important difference in their educational path.
“Without Beyond Literacy I would not have had the courage to complete my GED,” says Bettina Dillard, who hopes to enter the healthcare field after graduating. “Being at this program has uplifted me and made me believe I can do it. My teachers’ kind words of encouragement and consistency are what keep me going. I want to thank Comcast and Beyond Literacy for making this dream possible for me and my fellow students.”
“My journey with Beyond Literacy has been one of true happiness,” says Andrea Dillard, Bettina’s sister and a fellow Beyond Literacy student. “Coming to the event last month was one of the best things I could have done for myself. Beyond Literacy inspires me to be a better parent and encourage my child to be better and go further in life.”
“I’m improving a lot. I can now see myself putting on my graduation cap and taking it to the next step,” says Andrew Stewart, another adult learner working with Beyond Literacy. “My plan is, when I do get my diploma, I will come back and tutor math because it is a subject that I enjoy. I will continue learning so that I can reach my goal.”
“This new computer will be very beneficial to me,” Stewart continues. “I will be able to do more work. I would like to thank Comcast for donating to help us out. This will help a lot of people.” Stewart encourages anyone who would like to work on their education “to step forward and try and do something about it, like me. I knew I needed my education to go forward, so I made an effort, stepped forward and here I am.”
Teachers are excited that their students will be equipped with the technology they need to succeed.
“Personally, that day meant a lot,” says Marcus Hall, Beyond Literacy director of workforce development and an instructor since 2016. “This event was the first time I’ve met many of my students in person who I’ve been teaching for several months on Zoom. Being able to see students in person and being able to see the impact of this new technology moving forward makes me excited to see our students reach new heights.”