We seek to unlock the life-changing power of literacy for every willing learner

Donors, sponsors, and partners make it possible for Ozarks Literacy Council to encourage literacy throughout the Ozarks. Your support helps us provide free tutoring as well as books to adults and children in our community. Making a difference starts with one willing individual. Your support empowers someone’s future through literacy.

Amy Jardell

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Amy Jardell earned a Master of Nonprofit and Civic Leadership degree from Drury University. She has been with OLC since Nov 2018. Amy is leading OLC by initiating innovative new programs, promoting literacy, cultivating new donors and strengthening current relationships. “Literacy affects our entire community, we are in this together. Prioritizing literacy for all happens when we help where we can, give what we can and encourage reading everywhere.”

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Our volunteer board is a diverse group of professionals dedicated to our mission

President, Dana Mallory, Jack Henry and Associates

Vice President, Emily Reese, FORVIS

Treasurer, Abigail James-O’Quinn, James Financial Partners

Secretary, Jennifer Johnmeyer, Alamo Drafthouse, Freelance by Jen

Immediate Past President, Casey Daughtery, Republic Missouri Schools

Rachel Campbell, Jordan Valley Health Center

Tony Gunn Jr., St. Louis Mental Health Board

Tracy Haertling, Mercy

Sarah Kerner, FORVIS

Audra Lehman, Code Ninjas

Melanie McMullen, Neale & Newman, LLP

Zach Troutman, Arc of the Ozarks

Stephanie Smallwood, Springfield-Greene County Library District

                             

HISTORY OF OZARKS LITERACY COUNCIL

1968

On November 7, 1968, Dr. Frank Laubach spoke at University Heights Baptist Church in Springfield. The Springfield Area Council of Churches sponsored the meeting. As a result, the Springfield Area Literacy Council was formed. The council’s charter was adopted on November 14, 1968.

1979

In February of 1969, the first tutor training was held at Evangel College with Onita Beucher of Kansas City as the tutor trainer. Thirty tutors were certified and the Laubach “Each One Teach One” training began.

Until United Way funding was acquired in 1979, the agency operated from private homes and churches. United Way funding allowed for a small office downtown and a part-time secretary.

1992

In 1992, we changed our name to the Ozarks Literacy Council, and expanded services to include learners in 11 surrounding counties in Southwest Missouri. We trained 54 new tutors that year. The final total of volunteer tutors was 184, they helped us serve 192 adult learners.

2003

The Pre-literacy program started because of a Special Needs Teacher with Springfield Public Schools.  She told us about her kids and how they didn’t have books in their homes.  She created an interactive program to go with specially selected books. After board approval, we got this pilot program funded by Ozarks Empire Kiwanis. We partnered with  Leadership Springfield to have members read for the pilot year to the Special Needs Classrooms. This was the spring of 2003. 
From then on The Darr Family Foundation funded the Pre-Literacy Program each year. After the first year, we had volunteers reading for each classroom four times a year.  

2008

OLC partners with The Springfield Community Center to kick-off Books Come Alive. This program featured community professionals as volunteer readers. They would visit classrooms to read and share information about their profession.

2013

In 2013 Ozarks Literacy Council and the Springfield-Greene County Library District entered into a lease agreement for office space at the Midtown-Carnegie Branch Library at 397 E Central St. This location has been ideal for OLC. The library to refers patrons to our services, provides space for regular training sessions, and reserves rooms for tutoring sessions.

2018

2018 marked the 50th year of the Ozarks Literacy Council. OLC continues to serve the literacy needs of the community by offering three programs. Our main program of one on one literacy tutoring educated 193 students in 2018. We have generous volunteers that read to 32 Springfield preschool classrooms and sent a new book home with each child. Our social advocacy keeps us engaged in the community through public events such as Neighborhood Night Out, Juneteenth, Backpack programs and more.

2022

2022 was the beginning of a new hybrid style of learning. We have adapted to teaching online and in-person. Our programs have expanded to include the Reading Resource Program, aka #bookit. This program provides a volunteer reader for every class in the partnered elementary school. This lucky volunteer gets to spends at least 1/2 hour a month reading with their class. Every child receives a copy of the book read and three books for the summer. Teachers have already noticed a positive change is attitude regarding books and reading! 2022-23 will see us expanding to include two elementary schools, Williams and McGregor. #bookitmustangs and #bookittigers!!!

HELP US SPREAD LITERACY