The Lincoln County Literacy Council has a local familiar face working as its new director.
â€œThis particular job in the Literacy Council requires being visible within the community,â€ said Cristina Arlow, the councilâ€™s new director.
Arlow has certainly spent her time being visible. Sheâ€™s already worked with the Citizens Group for Education, United Way of Lincoln County, Helping Hands Clinic and Communities in Schools to name a few.
â€œI see this as an opportunity to bring together a lot of contacts that I have in the community,â€ said Arlow.
After working with Dona Douglass, the Literacy Councilâ€™s former director, Arlow has taken charge of her new job over the past week. She already has big plans.
â€œDona had done some great work in the last year, and weâ€™re gong to build on what sheâ€™s done,â€ said Arlow.
The Literacy Council currently has over 20 tutors working, and Arlow plans to recruit several more.
These tutors work one on one with their students.
â€œYou need to have a safe place to go to where you know it is OK to make mistakes,â€ said Arlow.
The council also works on improving the language skills of foreign born residents of Lincoln County.
â€œWe want to help everyone whether the literacy issue came because of educational issues or because of language,â€ said Arlow.
The council also offers programs for those who want to learn Spanish.
English speaking and Spanish speaking individuals are paired up together to help each other.
â€œThey teach each other the language, and they are also teaching cultural differences,â€ said Arlow.
Arlow plans on continuing multicultural study circles in which foreign born residents can learn about services available in the county.
She also plans to continue the councilâ€™s focus on literacy in children.
â€œIf we start real early on, we can tackle problems from every direction,â€ said Arlow.
The council has reading programs for students and connections with childrenâ€™s groups at Sunrise Community.
Arlow also hopes to start a tutoring program in which older students out of school for the summer help younger children with reading.
The new director is very excited to get her plans up and running. She has enjoyed her past few weeks at the council and thinks her new job is a good fit.
â€œI always had a passion for education,â€ said Arlow.
Arlow came to Lincoln County from Buenos Aries, Argentina in the â€™70s with very little knowledge of English. She remembers walking around West Lincoln High School with a bilingual dictionary in her hand.
â€œYou had to either sink or swim,â€ said Arlow who eventually learned the language. â€œIt took a tremendous amount of work. It was very difficult.â€
Back then, Lincoln Countyâ€™s Hispanic population was significantly smaller, she said.
â€œWe were a very strange happening in this town.â€
Arlow is currently so fluent in English she dreams in the language and has her own translation business.
She plans to use all her past experience to help her with her new responsibilities as director of the literacy council.
â€œI will never forget what the process (of learning English) was like, and I have tremendous empathy for anyone who learns,â€ she said. by Sarah Grano