When Mayor Andy Berke reorganized some city departments, the Department of Youth and Family Devlopment, headed by “Coach” Lurone Jennings was born. At the recent first annual C.A.R.E. Awards, Jennings pointed to some startling statistics about illiteracy:
20 percent of high school seniors can be classified as functionally illiterate at any given time
70 percent of prisoners in state and federal systems can be classified as illiterate
85 percent of all juvenile offenders rate as functionally or marginally illiterate
43 percent of those with the lowest literacy skills live in poverty
Stepping up to the plate to fight illiteracy, local rec centers have begun implementing Phase 1 of the Lexia Reading Program. Sign-ups are ongoing at East Chattanooga, East Lake, Brainerd, Carver, South Chattanooga, Hixson and Westside Centers, and rec center personnel say that just 20-30 minutes a day can help upgrade a young person’s reading skills. For more information, call (423) 643-6066.