"The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future."
In 1970, 22 local women formed a group called Church Women United. This group of women began providing services to New Americans, in particular to many immigrants arriving from Vietnam and Russia. By 1975, the group had trained about 50 tutors and taught 108 immigrants how to read, write and understand English and prepare for citizenship. Additionally, in 1975, the organization moved forward by forming a non-profit organization, Columbus Literacy Council.
Through the years, the mission and scope of services has continued to evolve to meet the ever-growing demand for services. Columbus Literacy Council (CLC) initially began serving immigrants by teaching and tutoring the English language skills of reading, writing and understanding. In the 1970s and 80s, CLC expanded services and began hiring full-time teaching staff and administrative staff, growing from a volunteer-based organization to over 20 employees. In the 90s, CLC continued to expand services and began contracting with the Ohio Department of Education, the City of Columbus and Franklin County to offer ESOL classes to immigrants and refugees. During this time, the Citizenship program also grew.
By the 2000s, CLC had developed and was marketing its own Tutor Training Program and received accreditation from ProLiteracy America as an educational agency and volunteer training organization. Also in the early 2000s, CLC began expanding services to meet the ever-increasing demand for services such as, literacy classes deaf and blind and workplace literacy.
Throughout the years, CLC has stayed focused on the mission to increase employability, enable future education, encourage civic involvement and promote family stability and support.