GLENWOOD SPRINGS — An organization that for more than a quarter century has been “changing lives one word at a time” in Garfield County, and which now has its very own facility in downtown Glenwood, will get a boost one footstep at a time from runners and walkers on Saturday.
The annual Glenwood Canyon Shuffle Race for Literacy, a benefit for Literacy Outreach, gathers runners and walkers of all abilities for a half-marathon and 5K race/walk along the paved bike path through scenic Glenwood Canyon.
Race-day registration is available, and buses to the half-marathon start leaving the No Name Rest Area at 8:15 a.m. sharp. The race begins at the other end of the canyon at 9 a.m.
Likewise, buses to the 5K start at Grizzly Creek leave at 9:30, and the shorter race begins at 10 a.m.
The event raises around $5,000 to support the efforts of Literacy Outreach to improve adult literacy and provide English language education to second-language learners in the area through one-on-one tutoring.
“It looks like we’re going to have record numbers out there this year, and especially a lot of fast women who are signed up to race,” said Martha Fredendall, executive director for Literacy Outreach. “We’d like to get some more men to sign up or to come out on race day.”
Literacy Outreach began as Garfield Adult Literacy in 1986 with a mission to train tutors who could then give people with low literacy skills one-on-one instruction and help them become better-educated and more self-sufficient.
Last year, Literacy Outreach served a total of 130 students, including 74 English Language Learners, and is on pace to surpass that number this year, Fredendall said.
In addition to reading literacy, the organization also provides math and financial planning literacy for its students, with the help of more than 150 volunteers. Currently, Literacy Outreach has 67 active pairs (tutor and student) working together.
The organization also has more information conversation circles to help people improve their literacy and English language skills, and even a class that helps teach English through cooking.
“It’s invaluable what we offer,” Fredendall said. “A lot of our students, for whatever reason, weren’t successful in the educational system or just weren’t ready then. The chance to learn again has a tremendous impact on these people’s lives.”
In May, the organization made its much-anticipated move into a newly remodeled facility at 1127 School St., located just south of the city’s recycle center.
The building, which was given to Literacy Outreach by an anonymous donor, replaced its longtime headquarters in the old Glenwood Springs Branch Library at Ninth and Blake.
“The library has been really generous in allowing us to be in their building for 26 years,” Fredendall said of the Glenwood Branch, which recently relocated to its own new downtown facility at Eighth and Cooper.
“They are still very generous in letting us offer tutoring in all of their buildings,” she said.
Literacy Outreach is now the only literacy program in Colorado that is accredited through the Pro Literacy America program, which provides direction in how to train and manage volunteer tutors.
“The need for basic literacy instruction has never been greater in our county,” Fredendall commented in the organization annual report. “The emerging needs of our community and the desire to have a space of our own drove us to find a place that would take us into the future.”
Meanwhile, the Canyon Shuffle was founded in 1996 by Dennis Webb, a longtime journalist in the area who has been involved for many years with Literacy Outreach.
“It was pretty small to start,” Webb said of what began as a single, 30-kilometer race from the east end of the canyon to Two Rivers Park in Glenwood Springs.
“After I became involved with Literacy Outreach we decided to make it a benefit for the organization,” Webb said. “It has brought them some extra money, not a huge amount, but every little bit helps.
“And, it brings attention and good will for Literacy Outreach as well,” he said.
“The need for basic literacy instruction has never been greater in our county. The emerging needs of our community and the desire to have a space of our own drove us to find a place that would take us into the future.”
Executive director for Literacy Outreach