HCL acts as the Mayor's liaison to literacy programming in Houston by supporting the Mayor's Coalition for Literacy, an association of more than 125 sites in Houston, representing over 50 organizations offering literacy services. We distribute the annual Mayor's Challenge Grant to accredited literacy organizations across the city. HCL provides professional development courses, classroom resources, best practices, and volunteer recruitment.
Our demonstration learning centers are another way HCL supports literacy programs. While HCL is not a literacy provider in the traditional sense, we operate three full-time literacy centers in areas of Houston where the need is high: Denver Harbor, Sharpstown, and Midtown. Our centers are not only free of charge for learners, but they are also open to literacy providers to learn best practices. Organizations interested in starting a literacy center can observe classes, get lesson plans, and gain access to supplies by making an appointment to visit one of our centers.
Another important aspect of HCL's mission is to engage the community. We accomplish this by raising awareness about the effects of low-literacy and advocating on the city, state, and national levels for policy change that will increase resources and funding for adult literacy. HCL is an active participant in literacy events across Greater Houston.
There are many ways HCL connects our community to literacy services. Houston Center for Literacy has given the United Way of Greater Houston special access to its literacy provider directory, expanding the citywide 2-1-1 HELPLINE's directory and its knowledge of literacy services in the Houston area. Additionally, HCL works with businesses around Houston to procure in-kind resources, such as computers, books, and office supplies for our member organizations. Further, we connect literacy providers to other organizations offering similar services, through our monthly provider meetings and e-communication.