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ConnectVA Spotlight: Dawniece Trumbo, The READ Center


Tell us about yourself.

My name is Dawniece Trumbo, and I’m the new Education Program Manager for The READ Center. The READ Center’s mission is to help adults with low-level literacy develop basic reading and communication skills so they can fulfill their roles as citizens, workers, and family members. Through small classroom instruction and one-to-one tutoring, our tutors and teachers help our students build a better future.

Prior to starting with READ, I was in the corporate world. I spent a large part of my career on project and program management and analytics in the health care and employee benefits industries. I am also an artist, so I spend my free time creating custom paintings for clients and events.

What is the focus of your work?

The ability to read is something most of us take for granted. It is something we assume every adult is able to do, but that is not true for one in six adults in the Greater Richmond area. Our students come to us with specific goals – to obtain their GED, to get a driver’s license, to be able to read to their grandchildren. We also believe literacy goes beyond reading – we’ve developed a computer literacy and math literacy summer curriculum that has been really well received by our students.


ABOVE: William Mitchell, a READ Center student, as featured in a Richmond Times-Dispatch article. More info: https://givingtuesday.razoo.com/us/story/Readcenter

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

Honestly, the work is very personal to me. My grandfather grew up in Arkansas, and dropped out of school in the 3rd grade to work on the family farm. Unfortunately, he never learned to read and the impact of that decision has had a ripple effect on my family – some I wouldn’t wish on anyone. So, every day I come to work and witness or hear about a student breakthrough, I feel like I am helping another family change the trajectory of their future circumstances.


ABOVE: The READ Center invited students, teachers, and tutors to a tailgate during the 2016 Super Bowl               

What are some major challenges you have faced and how you handled them? 

The number one challenge is truly the great need for our services. So many people in our community need help to obtain a basic level of literacy. However, READ is only as strong as the tutors who volunteer to pair with our students to increase their literacy skills. Right now, we have more interested students than tutors, so we are looking for more volunteers to give of their time. If you can read, you can help.

What’s coming next for your organization that really excites you?

We have a lot of great opportunities coming up in the new year for volunteers who are interested in becoming adult literacy tutors. Previous teaching experience is not required. We provide the training, materials and support to prepare volunteer tutors to work with our students in a small classroom or one to one setting. Our next tutor training will be on Saturday, January 21, 2016. Interested volunteers can visit our website for more information and to sign up.

How are you leveraging ConnectVA to achieve your mission?

The READ Center has recruited new staff through the ConnectVA Job Finder, has posted discussions in the Discussion Forum, and we even picked up a great new cabinet through the Item Exchange to store program materials in. As we plan our spring fundraiser, we’ll definitely be using the list of Meeting Space locations to help with the planning process. We’ll also be posting future tutor training and other events on the Event Calendar. We love ConnectVA!

Anything else you would like to share?

If you serve or know individuals who struggle with low literacy in the community and would like to get them connected with READ, please reach out to me via my ConnectVA profile or call (804) 288-9930. We are always happy to take referrals or build a referral partnership. We are also just as interested if you know someone or work with an organization looking to volunteer as tutors with READ.

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