About Us

Bridgerland Literacy offers free tutoring assistance in the areas of reading and writing to adult learners that are conversational in English. Volunteers are matched with a student for one-on-one tutoring in an open, safe, and confidential environment. Tutor training and teaching materials are provided at no cost. By improving literacy skills, individuals can function more efficiently and find more fulfillment in their lives.

Bridgerland Literacy is a 501(c)3 tax exempt, non-profit which is funded primarily by individual and corporate donations.

Mission Statement: The mission of Bridgerland Literacy is to promote functional English literacy, empowering individuals and families with self-sustainable skills in the home, workforce, and community.


 

Our Beginnings

In 1987, VISTA (Volunteers In service to America) volunteer, Cindy Yurth, was concerned about the adults in Cache Valley who couldn’t read. She envisioned developing a program where volunteer tutors would provide free, confidential assistance to non-readers.

Bridgerland Literacy started with a handful of volunteers and students and operated out of a cardboard box on a table in the Richmond, Utah Library. Cindy used the small stipend she received from VISTA and donations from Pepperidge Farm to purchase books for the program. The small program grew and in 1988 the organization needed a larger, more central location. Logan Library Director, Ronald Jenkins, agreed to let Bridgerland Literacy operate on a trial basis within the Logan Library. A government grant allowed the organization to hire its first director.

In 1991, several professors from Utah State University’s College of Education helped the director develop a learning approach called contextual literacy. This approach requires heavy student input. Students define their individual learning needs within the context of their everyday life. From these needs, learning goals are established which will motivate students to improve their literacy skills. This learner centered approach has proven to be quite successful.

As the message spread that free confidential reading help was available in Cache Valley, the program grew steadily. It found a permanent home in the Logan Library and in 1992 a second staff member was hired. Over time, the collection of educational and adult reading materials has grown tremendously.

During the summer of 1997. the organization began to tutor children. The community has donated many children’s books through the annual Have a Novel Christmas Book Drive. Some of these books have expanded the children’s collection available in our office and many were given to low income children throughout the community via other social service agencies.

In January 2011 Bridgerland Literacy Center was able to reopen in a new residence at the BTech (Bridgerland Technical College), and have since relocated to the Institute for Disability Research, Policy, & Practice. Their commitment to serve the community has remained strong.
 

Personnel

Director: Alice Shepherd
     Email: Blit.director@gmail.com or Alice.shepherd@usu.edu
BOARD MEMBERS:
​Chairman:
Barbara Covert
Vice-Chairman:  Al Forsyth
Treasurer: Teresa Theurer
Secretary: Jane Nicholson
Sterling Morris
 

Awards

  • ​2012 — Bridgerland Literacy receives the Community Recognition Award from Cache Democrats.​
  • 2009 — Bridgerland Literacy volunteer, Bruce Draper, is awarded the Silver Bowl Award which is sponsored by the Volunteer Centers of the State of Utah.
  • Lt. Governor, Oleen Walker, recognized Ronald Jenkins, Executive Director of Bridgerland Literacy, as the Library Leader of the Year for his outstanding support of literacy.
  • 2001 — Loye Painter, a 7-year veteran tutor, was presented with the Individual Silver Bowl Award for her volunteer service to Bridgerland Literacy.
  • 2000 — Bridgerland Literacy volunteers are awarded the JC Penney Golden Rule Award as the outstanding volunteer organization for the year.
  • Laura Weiss, a young Bridgerland Literacy tutor, receives the U.S. Presidential Student Service Gold Award for her volunteer work at Bridgerland literacy
  • 1999 — Bridgerland Literacy volunteers are awarded the Silver Bowl Award which is sponsored by the Volunteer Centers of the State of Utah.
  • 1998 — Bridgerland Literacy’s volunteers are awarded the JCPenney Golden Rule Award for exceptional service to the community.
  • 1997 — Lou Gay, a tutor and Board member, is presented with an Outstanding Service Award.
  • BL receives the Organization Award “for meritorious service and dedicated efforts toward the development of a more educated citizenry” from the Utah Association for Adult, Community, and Continuing Education.
  • 1996 — Sonic Cable Television is awarded the Outstanding Contribution Award from the Utah State Office of Education for its fundraising and advocacy work on behalf of Bridgerland Literacy.
  • Student Becky Neilson is presented with the Utah State New Reader Achievement Award by the Utah State Office of Education. She is also recognized with a National Honor Society Award for her efforts to improve her literacy skills and for being a literacy advocate in our community.
  • Bridgerland Literacy volunteers are awarded a Silver Bowl Award from the Utah Commission on National & Community Service for their dedication and almost 9,000 hours of service in 1995.
  • 1995 — The Forum, a publication of Laubach Literacy Action, publishes an article describing Bridgerland Literacy’s contextual approach to adult literacy instruction.
  • Literacy Advance, a periodical published for the literacy field, publishes a story featuring Bridgerland Literacy. It is described as a model program for student involvement and retention.
  • 1994 — Student Ken Wilson is appointed to Laubach Literacy Action’s national steering committee to assist in long range planning for over 900 U.S. literacy programs.
  • Student, Ken Willson, is awarded the Outstanding New Reader, New Writer of the Year Award by the Utah Sate Office of Education for his regular column in Words. Much of his column is dedicated to encouraging fellow new-readers to take responsibility for their lives and not give up trying. He ends each column reminding readers that “Reading is learning and learning is growing and NO ONE is too old to learn.” Ken Wilson also attends the National Adult Literacy Congress in Washington, DC as one of 3 student delegates from Utah. He is joined by Judith and her husband, Nelson Cronyn, when they bicycle cross-country from Logan to raise awareness and funds for adult literacy.
  • Ronald Jenkins, Logan Library Director and Bridgerland Literacy Executive Director, is awarded Utah’s Outstanding Program Leadership Award from the Utah State Office of Education.
  • Bridgerland Literacy receives its second J C Penney Golden Rule Award.
  • 1993 — An article by Director Judith Keller and Doctors John Smith and Richard Harmston of Utah State University is published in The California Reader. The article discusses the idea of literature circles, using an evening at New Horizons as a model.
  • Student LaRue Bills is honored with the Utah Outstanding New Reader, New Writer of the Year Award from the Utah State Office of Education for her book, The Richest Gold In The World.
  • 1992 — J C Penney Golden Rule Award for exceptional volunteer service.
  • Student Bob Bosworth is selected to attend the National Adult Literacy Congress as one of 3 student delegates from Utah.
  • 1991 — 156th Point Of Light in President Bush’s Thousand Points of Light Campaign.
  • Outstanding Community Volunteer Service from the Voluntary Action Center.
  • 1990 — Program of The Year Award from the Utah State Office of Education and the Utah Literacy Coalition.
  • 1988 — Founder Cindy Yurth is honored by the Cache Valley Reading Council for her work in promoting adult literacy.
  • 1993 — An article by Director Judith Keller and Doctors John Smith and Richard Harmston of Utah State University is published in The California Reader. The article discusses the idea of literature circles, using an evening at New Horizons as a model.
 
 


CONTACT US


Office hours: Mon–Fri, 9 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
LocationIDRPP Room 216 C
Phone: 435-797-1210
Email: alice.shepherd@usu.edu or blit.director@gmail.com

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