Published On: Fri, Jun 26th, 2020

Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County Announces New Board Officers

The Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County swore in new board officers including a Boca Raton Resident and Attorney, Matthew Criscuolo at its virtual annual meeting in June.

The Literacy Coalition is a not for profit organization committed to ensuring that every resident of Palm Beach County, Florida is able to read. For over 31 years, the Coalition has worked hard to improve the quality of life in the community by promoting and achieving literacy.

Before becoming Treasurer of the Literacy Coalition, Criscuolo volunteered back in 2017 to serve the board and help the community. 

“Education is so important to me. I think the ability to read opens so many doors and empowers people to grow and be successful” said Criscuolo.

The new board officers include President Len Gray, Vice Presidents Laurie Gildan, and Nancy Vera, Secretary Bernadette O’Grady, Secretary Bernadette O’Grady, Harvey Oaxaca-Guzman and Parliamentarian Lynn Kalber. 

Due to COVID-19, the Coalition has faced challenges having to modify how they integrate the literacy programs to continue helping students and adults. 

Teachers are now using technology to communicate, teach, and support students in the family literacy programs in Belle Glade and Delray Beach. In addition, early learning specialists in the ParentChild+ program are using home apps to conduct home visits throughout the county, teaching toddlers with pre-delivered educational books and toys. 

So far the digital platform services provided by the Coalition have been working to serve the community safely according to Criscuolo. 

“I’m amazed at how well things have shifted from in-person to online only.  I think the ability to provide our programs in-person is certainly the preference and hopefully something we can go back to as soon as it’s safe to do so again” said Criscuolo. 

Inspired by his soon-to-be 7-year-old daughter who he reads to every day, Criscuolo wanted to encourage children and adults in the community to develop the skills needed to live a better life. 

“It’s amazing to see first-hand, every day, how empowering reading is for her (his daughter). I know the Literacy Coalition works tirelessly to empower members of our community through promoting and achieving literacy throughout Palm Beach County” said Criscuolo.  

The Coalition supplies books to babies born at Boca Raton Regional Hospital and West Boca Medical Center encouraging parents to start their child’s own home library.

The Literacy Coalition is currently providing trained tutors to help struggling first and second-grade readers at Boca Raton Elementary, Hammock Pointe Elementary, and JC Mitchell Elementary.

They give books and training to pediatricians and their staff as part of the Reach Out and Read program at the CL Brumback primary care clinic. 

In addition, the Coalition has an after school and summer camp programming called Stories & STEM and Read! Lead! Succeed! For social-emotional learning through literature at the Florence Fuller Center and the Primary Learning Place. 

Criscuolo encourages local residents to volunteer by donating books, becoming a tutor, or participating in their many events and initiatives held throughout the year, including Read for the Record, Read Together, The Grand Bee, Loop for Literacy, Love of Literacy Luncheon, and Literacy Links Golf Tournament. 

“It does really improve the quality of life if you are a child or trying to get a better job as an adult something as simple as learning to read can make a big impact,” said Criscuolo. 

For more information on ways, residents can help support the Literacy Coalition visit their website https://www.literacypbc.org/.

About the Author

- I am a senior at Florida Atlantic University majoring in Multimedia Studies with a concentration in Journalism and minor in Communications. I am a Newsroom Writer for the Boca Raton Tribune who strives to use my passion for writing not only to inform the public of current events but to encourage and empower the community to enact change.

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