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Discover what the Y-Literacy program does in our community!

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

Come join us in learning English. This course will help you communicate at work, in everyday situations, with the use of technology, and prepare you for academic programs & career training. This course is being provided to the community at no cost.

Ven y únete a nosotros para aprender inglés. Este curso ayudará a las personas a comunicarse en el trabajo, en situaciones cotidianas, con el uso de la tecnología, y preparará a los participantes para programas académicos y capacitación profesional. Este curso se proporciona a la comunidad sin costo alguno. 

Refugee & Immigrant Society of Entrpreneurs (RISE)

In RISE, as a refugee or immigrant, you will learn new skills that will help you in becoming an entrepreneur, will help you to create income, and you will practice English through conversation and instruction. Opportunities to network and sell goods at community events are also available. This course is being provided to the community at no cost. 

En RISE como refugiado o inmigrante, aprenderá nuevas habilidades que lo ayudarán a convertirse en empresario, lo ayudarán a generar ingresos, y practicarás inglés a través de la conversación y la instrucción. Las oportunidades para establecer contactos y vender productos en eventos comunitarios también están disponibles. Este curso se proporciona a la comunidad sin costo alguno. 

Reading Classes

Need to improve your reading skills? Register for one-on-one instruction with a Reading tutor to help you achieve your goals. Tutors and adult students usually meet twice a week and work on reading strategies. This is provided free of charge to the community.

YMCA Literacy works to strengthen our community by training volunteer tutors to instruct adults in an individualized, 40+ hour literacy program. Volunteer tutors and paid instructors serve around 200 adult learners per year in one of two programs: Adult Reading and English as a Second Language.

More than 20% of North Carolinians cannot read above a fifth-grade level or speak English well enough to help their children with homework. Both of these can also make finding meaningful employment difficult to attain.

For our volunteers: submit your monthly tutor report here.

Want to volunteer as an ESL tutor or reading coach? Click here.

Volunteer Orientation and Training

Tutor training sessions are required for all new volunteer tutors, including Reading tutors and ESL tutors. However, because we often have a waiting list of students who need a tutor, we also offer one-on-one tutor training so that you may get started more quickly. We also offer tutor gatherings on the first Friday of every month; these gatherings provide training, enrichment, and idea/knowledge sharing among staff and volunteers.

After the initial training we will match you with an adult student, provide materials, and help you get started. We ask that you attend at least two more workshops or tutor sharing events during your first year of tutoring. They will be offered on a variety of more specific topics.

Do you need a tutor?

To join our program for adults to learn English as a second language, please call Nury Anton at 336 701 2425 to sign up online.

To join our program for adults to learn reading skills, please contact Gitte Sato at 336 251 1090 x6323 or

Each side of the program has its unique challenges, but YMCA Literacy prepares volunteers with training, appropriate materials and ongoing support, to ensure the best experience for both learner and tutor. Anyone can be a tutor, no prior experience or foreign language skills are required. With patience, a little creativity and a desire to help others reach their goals, you can make a difference.

The need is larger than we are, we often have a waiting list of learners across the city that need tutors. With increased volunteer support and donations, we can expand our current programs even further, and pursue new partnerships, in specific areas like family literacy, workforce literacy, and computer literacy.

The Literacy Initiative was founded in 1990, by a partnership between the United Way of Forsyth and Leadership Winston-Salem, with funding from the Winston-Salem Foundation. In 1993, the Literacy Initiative began training volunteer tutors to provide direct service to low-level readers in the community. In 1994, the organization absorbed the Forsyth County Literacy Council and the YMCA Literacy Initiative became the focal point of adult literacy coordination in the county. The ESL program was added in 2001 in response to the growth of the Latino community in Forsyth County, but with a mission to serve English language learners of all nationalities.

Today, the program is still grounded in volunteer-based, one-on-one tutoring. In 2019, we served 330 adult learners through our one-on-one tutoring, small groups, and ESL classes. Each year, our volunteers contribute over 4,000 hours of free instruction for adult learners. Most tutors and learners meet twice a week, for a total of three hours, usually in a YMCA tutoring room. YMCA Literacy has resource rooms conveniently located at the Robinhood Road Family YMCA. Here, tutors and learners have access to a library of quality books, classroom materials, and computers, as well as a quiet space to learn.

On both the Adult Reading and ESL sides of the program, diversity is a hallmark. In Adult Reading, learners come to the program at different stages of life; ages range from early 20s to 70s. Their individual goals vary from obtaining a GED to being able to read to their grandchildren. ESL learners come from all over the world; including countries like Venezuela, South Korea, Syria, Russia, Mexico, Burma, and Honduras. They also come from a wide variety of backgrounds and have diverse goals. Some have advanced degrees in their home countries, some wish to prepare for job interviews, and others want to be able to understand their children's schoolwork. A few learners are preparing for citizenship applications, and some want to fine-tune their English pronunciation.

Are you interested in hearing more about YMCA Literacy?

Does volunteering interest you? Please get in touch with us!

Nury Anton coordinates the ESL program ( & Gitte Sato ( coordinates the Adult Literacy program.

Our Mission: "Helping all people reach their God-given potential in spirit, mind and body."