Adult literacy programs in Western Colorado are in high demand.
Without more volunteers, Mesa County Libraries worries the rising need won't be met.
The wait list at the library is growing. There’s more than a hundred hopeful students left in limbo as they wait for tutoring services. Officials say the demand isn't likely to slow down.
For a growing number of Mesa County residents, poor reading, writing and speaking English are obstacles they confront daily.
Karen Kllanxhja, Head of Literacy Service for Mesa County Libraries, says, "They’re passionate about their new country so we want to help them out."
Eusebia Garza knows first hand the importance of literacy. She is from Mexico and when she first came to the Grand Valley she didn't speak any English.
After two years as a student, she's teaching others.
"I’m living my dream. I learn that way I can help my community," Garza said.
Library officials say the demand to learn is rising fast.
"Its seven or eight new students a week," Kllanxhja said.
The literacy center says its tutored students from over thirty different countries and for many of those students it was a way for them to become a U.S. citizen.
"You absolutely have to speak the language if you're going to become a citizen," Kllanxhja said.
Learning English is considered a key part of proposed immigration reforms being discussed in congress.
Combine that with an expanding community, and library officials expect the demand for literacy and ELS programs to only increase, and with it the need for volunteers.
"When the new students come here they say Eusebia do you think I can learn,” Garza explained. “I say of course. If I learn you can learn too."
"There would be no program without the volunteers because we just don't have the resources," Kllanxhja said.
If you're interested in becoming a volunteer with the adult literacy program, you can check out the libraries information sessions on Thursday, March 7th.
It’s happening from 1-2pm and 6-7pm at Mesa County Central Library, 655 N. 1st St.
English speaking tutors don't need to know another language. They just need the ability to motivate those who want to learn.