About Us

Our Mission

The mission of the Perry County Literacy Council (PCLC) is to provide educational programs for Perry County residents and their families that will enable them to better function as productive, responsible citizens. All of our programs are 100% free; we tailor our instruction to the individual’s needs and deliver it via one-to-one tutoring and small classes.

A Safe Learning Experience

How We Advocate For Our Students

Empowering learners by helping them remove obstacles on their path to financial independence.

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Representation and support for those unable to advocate for themselves

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OVR, Social Security and MHIDD contact for disabled residents

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Literacy Advocacy for those unable to complete literacy tasks independently

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UWCR Money In Your Pocket Campaign – onsite tax preparation for low income residents

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Access to a community Emergency Needs Fund

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Contact for holiday meal programs, personal care kits, quilts, school supplies and gifts

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Free book distribution – adults and children

Overcoming Barriers

Our Guiding Principles

We use a holistically-guided approach to education and financial independence for our Perry County neighbors.

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We provide residents of Perry County with high quality adult education programs in alignment with state and federal standards, ranging from adult basic literacy to high school equivalency and including instructional models that address each of our students’ unique needs at no cost to them.

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We are committed to the ongoing development of programs aligned with state and Federal Standards that offer sustainable, portable credentials and skills that support career pathways for students living below the poverty line.

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We maintain ongoing program improvement and professional development for programs that align with state and federal standards and support community needs.

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We value and address every Perry County resident’s request for services aligned with literacy at the appropriate level of need with a high-quality participant-service model that supports the desired outcome.

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We respond to the need for local access to programs and services in a rural community by maintaining a capacity-building model that supports the unique needs of rural residents.

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We support leadership that pairs adult education with workforce development programs that help students attain goals – including (but not limited to) family-sustaining wages and benefits supporting self-sufficiency.

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We support collaboration without competition, as well as the alignment of partnerships with common goals.

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We support resource-sharing projects that maximize the use of money allocated to Perry County and support future funding with outcomes aligned with a reduction in unemployment and reliance on public assistance.

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We maintain working relationships with numerous communities within Perry County, including social service, business, Pre K – 12 education, childcare, healthcare, and faith-based/nonprofit organizations.

FAQs for Students

How Much Do Classes Cost?
At PCLC, we provide all of our services at no cost to the student. The only required payment is one-half of the fee for the GED® or HiSET® exam; the other half is covered by PCLC’s Scholarship Fund. If you are age 17-24 and are enrolled in EDSI’s Youth Program, EDSI will pay for the second half, which will allow you to take the entire exam free of charge.

Where Are Classes Held?
Classes are usually held at the PCLC’s offices, though tutor-student pairs can arrange to meet onsite and offsite.

Can PCLC Find Me Employment?
Absolutely! PCLC offers a variety of job training courses and can put you in contact with potential employers and other career resources that will help lead you to new employment opportunities.

Contact Us

FAQs for Volunteers

How Do I Become a Tutor to a Student?
Feel free to contact PCLC if you are interested in working with us. 717-567-7323

Do You Require Teaching Experience to Become a Tutor?
All volunteer tutors must have a bachelor’s degree or higher in order to work with PCLC. Aside from this, no prior teaching experience is required.

To Teach English As a Second Language, Do You Have to Speak a Foreign Language?
No foreign language experience is necessary; all of PCLC’s classes are held in English.

Volunteer Today

Your Donation At Work

Adult learners become high school graduates, skilled workers, taxpayers, and consumers. They decrease their reliance on government support and contribute to a stronger Perry County!

Our Team

Meet Our Staff

The PCLC staff is committed to understanding every individual’s needs & challenges and providing the appropriate services to set them up for success.

Kathleen Bentley

Executive Director
View Bio

Jerry Barrett

Workforce Instructor
View Bio

Jamey Deiter

Office Manager
View Bio

Leslie Heimbaugh

Development Officer
View Bio

Emma Groff

Student Support Specialist
View Bio

Linda Stawser

Office Manager
View Bio

Lauren Kerlin

EC Outreach
View Bio

Robert Eisenberg

Fingerprinting Tech
View Bio

Russ Huislander

Customer Service
View Bio

Volunteer Leadership

2021 Board of Directors

Our Directors bring a wealth of experience and expertise to PCLC, united by their passion for our mission.

Kevin Fitzpatrick - President 2018

CNESTA GROUP, LLC.
Vice President Perry County Economic Development Authority
Perry County Chamber of Commerce
New Bloomfield Lions Club
President, New Bloomfield Borough Council
Historical Society of Perry County

David Kutz - Vice President 2020

TFEC Board
Perry County Community Foundation
Volunteer Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art

Laura Campbell - Secretary 2015

Director, PA Code and Bulletin, Legislative Reference Bureau
Perry County Council of the Arts
Newport Revitalization and Preservation Society
Newport PA Celebrates 175
Perry County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

Michael Smith - Treasurer 2021

Principal, Newport Elementary School
Shriner

Lane Partner - Life Member

Retired
Perry County Community Foundation

Andrew Bender - 2016

41st Judicial District Judge-Court of Common Pleas
Former Perry County District Attorney
Boy Scouts of America

Lance Laird - 2017

Retired
PCLC Volunteer Tutor
UWCR Volunteer Tax Preparer

F. Clay Merris - 2019

Perry County District Attorney
President Perry County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

Jeff Probasco - 2016

PCLC Volunteer Tutor
Fox Field Airport
Historical Society of Perry County
Perry County Bicentennial Committee

Patty Sibbach - 2021

Precision Training Concepts, LLC
Owner Perry Strength

Megan Gantt - 2021

Guidance Counselor Newport Elementary School

Angela Barlup - 2021

Business Development Representative
Belco Community Credit Union

Agency PartnershipPerry County Family Center

Established in 1992 through a partnership with Capital Area Headstart, the West Perry School District, and various local community agencies, the Perry County Family Center strives to promote the positive development, health, and well-being of young children throughout Perry County. The Center seeks to strengthen family life and provide a place for families to find information and support that will help them make important decisions about their families. Some of the services provided by the Center include parenting classes, financial literacy classes and car seat loans—as well as the UWCR Prosperity Center, which offers help to those applying for various state and federal benefits for their families, such as food stamps, cash assistance and health care coverage.

Agency PartnershipPCLC Community Reentry Project

PCLC collaborates with the Perry County Prison and the faith-based community to offer a Community Reentry Program to inmates who voluntarily commit to the program. PCLC is committed to a mission that extends to all Perry County residents, including the incarcerated. The Perry County Prison has been an outstanding partner, supporting adult education with GED® classes for inmates. In addition, a case management model addresses individual reentry needs and barriers. A faith-based support group follows each class, promoting values and personal commitment to rehabilitation. Each inmate pairs with a mentor from the faith-based community who will act as a sponsor as the inmate reenters the community. Private funding from the faith-based community and foundations supports this project. Community Reentry Project participants will have access to various PCLC community programs as they reenter.

Agency PartnershipPerry Housing Partnership (Transitional Housing Services)

The Perry County Housing Partnership develops affordable housing opportunities for Perry County residents, including low-income, disabled, elderly and/or homeless individuals and families.

Agency PartnershipPerry Human Services

Perry Human Services provides weekly counseling sessions (by appointment) for Perry County residents recovering from addiction. In addition, they offer cash assistance, food stamps, medical assistance and emergency fuel for lower-income families, as well as referrals for training, education and jobs.

Agency PartnershipTri County Community Action

Tri-County Community Action offers various services toinformation and referral services, family self-sufficiency, case management

Agency PartnershipCommunity Engagment

The work we do at PCLC would not be possible without support from the community in which we live and work. Therefore, we make it a point to contribute to that community by getting involved with numerous initiatives that, like us, are working to improve the lives of Perry County residents.

PCLC’s community engagements include:

Member—Perry County Family Service Partnership Board
Board Member—Perry County Chamber of Commerce
Member—Perry County 2015 Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee
Member—South Central Workforce Investment Board Local Management Committee
Member—Perry County Human Services Office Direct Service Team
Member—Perry County Health Coalition
Member—Perry Empowerment Task Force
Board Member—Tutors of Literacy in the Commonwealth
Advisor for Adult Education, Workforce Development and Rural Access
Community Referral Agency with hundreds of contacts
1,000+ supporters/donor

Agency PartnershipEDSI (Educational Data Systems)

EDSI EARN—Welfare program that provides clients with cash and food stamps.

EDSI Career Advisor—EDSI receives state and federal funding used to pay for both on-the-job and classroom training for PCLC students. In order to be eligible for training, a client either must be low-income or have been dislocated due to a closing, firing or downsizing.

Youth Program

EDSI Workforce Innovations Opportunities Act (WIOA)

Participants enroll in WIOA to obtain training and/or employment. All WIOA services are provided onsite.

EDSI Jobs Connections

EDSI Job Club – Job Club is held two times every month (usually the first and third Thursdays of each month) and is a requirement for on-the-job training. The club offers various workshops that help students explore and navigate the world of employment.

EDSI Employment Consultant/Job Developer – These consultants talk with potential employers about openings for job-seeking students, which are subsequently posted on the CareerLink website.

Tests of Adult Basic Education – Onsite

ACT WorkKeys® Testing – Onsite

Pearson VUE Authorized Test Center – Career Certification Testing

CareerLink® and CWDS support

Agency PartnershipOVR

The Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) is a state agency that helps individuals with disabilities help themselves to prepare for, begin, and maintain successful careers. OVR case managers are available by appointment at PCLC.

Grant PartnershipDollar General Literacy Foundation

Established in 1993 in honor of Dollar General co-founder J.L. Turner (who was functionally illiterate) the Dollar General Literacy Foundation commits itself to assisting individuals of all ages receive the education they need to access post-secondary education and steady employment. The foundation has awarded over $110 million in grants to nonprofits and schools that have helped more than 6.8 million people learn to read, learn English, or prepare for high school equivalency testing.

Grant PartnershipPNC Foundation

A partner of PCLC since 2013, the PNC Foundation is committed to the enrichment and growth of the communities it serves as well as empowering people in those markets to maximize their human potential. The foundation recognizes that communities thrive and flourish through creative problem-solving and seeks to contribute the funds needed to seed the ideas, support the initiatives and encourage the leadership of those organizations where imagination and determination are at work enhancing the lives of the people they serve. As part of its partnership with PCLC, the PNC Foundation backs the initiative that supports our computer-based testing site, which provides Perry County residents with sustainable local access to GED testing. PNC’s support also extends to financial literacy classes with local PNC employees, who provide volunteer instruction on topics such as budgeting, savings and financial education. PNC provides these services in collaboration with the United Way of the Capital Region Prosperity Center in Perry County.

Grant PartnershipHighmark

The Highmark initiative was created to recognize organizations that demonstrate the proven ability to make an impact in diverse rural and urban neighborhoods where there may be minority populations, individuals with a disability, veterans or displaced workers seeking career opportunities and advancements.

Highmark recognizes the significant barriers to self-sufficiency faced by undereducated and unemployed youth and young adults. As a business with interest in improving the conditions in communities in their service areas, Highmark demonstrates their commitment to economic development and quality of life, granting funding to the Perry County Literacy Council for youth and young adult career awareness and development, training and job placement.

Supporting a collaborative delivery of services, Highmark has funded the purchase of a vehicle for Perry Apex Services Unlimited (PASU) and transportation accounts for 20 Perry County youth (ages 18 – 25) to travel to PCLC classes as well as to training and employment interviews and appointments. A Program Coordinator supports students as they obtain workforce credentials and transition to training and/or employment. Highmark recognizes the transportation and access barrier in a rural community and therefore supports this project targeting young people in these areas.

Grant PartnershipPerry County Community Foundation

The Perry County Community Foundation (PCCF), established in 1987, is a nonprofit public charity and a regional foundation of the Foundation for Enhancing Communities (TFEC). The PCCF makes grants to nonprofit organizations that serve residents of Perry County. PCCF also serves as a vehicle for individuals, companies, foundations and charitable organizations to establish funds that will support the civic, social, educational and cultural well-being of Perry County residents. The Foundation ensures that all gifts, ranging from a few dollars to a few thousand, will work to improve the quality of life of Perry County residents both now and in the future. The Community Foundation has been a generous supporter of PCLC; their support funds innovative programs that address growing and changing needs within our rural community, and their funding model provides guidance and support for new programs aimed at building the service capacity of our nonprofit organization. 

Grant PartnershipHarold Greaney Charitable Trust

Established to support various nonprofit organizations throughout Perry County, the Harold Greaney Charitable Trust distributes discretionary funds to those nonprofits that demonstrate the greatest level of financial need. The trust has offered a great deal of support to PCLC—particularly via the James and Melinda Marley Emergency Needs Fund, which provides many of our clients and students with emergencies that require financial aid. Such situations might include purchasing a gas card in order to drive to appointments or interviews or paying a car repair bill.

Grant PartnershipTFEC Women's Fund

An initiative by the Foundation for Enhancing Communities, the TFEC Women’s Fund targets low-income women in search of steady work. As a partner of TFEC, we at PCLC offer classes that help these women earn National Retail Federation (NRF) certifications and become proficient in Microsoft Office.

Grant PartnershipDonald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Foundation

Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler established this foundation in their names in 1966 to benefit charitable, religious, scientific, literary, and/or educational ventures, especially those that operate in central or eastern Pennsylvania. The Stabler Foundation provides grants for educational institutions, parochial schools and nonprofit hospitals and medical facilities. The Foundation also makes grants to private organizations and institutions that provide services and assistance to the mentally, physically or developmentally impaired or disabled; people suffering or recovering from drug or alcohol abuse; and the elderly and financially disadvantaged. 

Grant PartnershipCommunity Aid

PCLC is a proud partner of Community Aid, a charitable organization whose nonprofit partners agree to allow Community Aid to place one of their clothing collection bins—recognizable by their tan color and three helping hands on the side—on their property or other public locations. The donated clothing placed in the bins is removed several times each week and sold in Community Aid thrift stores. Based on the weight of the clothing in each bin, a particular nonprofit is awarded with a quarterly cash donation per pound; PCLC uses this donation to support our scholarship fund. In addition, partners receive Care Cards (clothing vouchers) for the needy in their area; these cards can be used in any one of Community Aid’s thrift stores. Following an introductory period of partnership, a nonprofit partner becomes eligible to apply for grants during announced application periods. Community Aid’s partnerships with local nonprofits has helped these organizations continue to improve the quality of life for local individuals and families.

Grant PartnershipLawrence And Julia Hoverter Charitable Foundation

The Lawrence and Julia Hoverter Charitable Foundation, with roots in Perry County, has been a generous longtime supporter of PCLC. Their funding has allowed our agency to maximize the numbers of residents it serves; it supports programs that have allowed countless students to obtain GED and workforce credentials, as well as to overcome transportation and employment barriers.

Meet Our StaffRuss Huislander

Customer Service

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Meet Our StaffLinda Stawser

Office Manager

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Meet Our StaffJamey Deiter

Office Manager

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Meet Our StaffJerry Barrett

Workforce Instructor

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Meet Our StaffRobert Eisenberg

Fingerprinting Tech

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Meet Our StaffEmma Groff

Student Support Specialist

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Meet Our StaffLauren Kerlin

EC Outreach

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Meet Our StaffLeslie Heimbaugh

Development Officer

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Meet Our StaffKathleen Bentley

Executive Director

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The Stories of RedemptionLives Changed

High school was difficult for John Banks. Though never bullied, he couldn’t stand how fellow students treated each other and felt like he simply didn’t fit in. Anxious and frustrated, John spoke with his family about his concerns. This led to trying charter school and then traditional schooling once more, until the pandemic hit.

“We were right back to the same Zoom sessions that didn’t work with the charter school,” said Jeanette. “That was the clincher, so I thought, ‘Okay – here’s what we’re going to do.”

John’s parents recommended that he go to Perry County Literacy Council (PCLC) for classes to earn his high school equivalency diploma.

“My parents thought that I should try it out,” said John. “My mom was worried because she knew that I didn’t always get all my work done in school, but she knew that I cared about getting my diploma – and she had faith in me.”

John loves coming to PCLC. Since entering the program last September, he has completed three of the four tests required to earn his high school equivalency diploma.

Other Ways to GiveDonate by Mail

At PCLC, we work to provide educational programs for Perry County residents and families that enable them to better function as productive and responsible citizens. Within this process, your donations and gifts help us continue to provide these classes and resources to each resident. Overall, your gift can help change a life forever.

PCLC offers many options for donating, but if you prefer to make your gift by check through mail, please send it to:

Perry County Literacy Council
P.O. Box 37, Newport, PA 17074

We look forward to continuing our work with your help!

The Value of Your DonationWhy Give to PCLC?

A donation to PCLC means more than just money; it means a changed life in Perry County and in some cases, the changed life of an entire family. Your donation keeps our mission going and helps us continue to educate those looking to improve their skill level in order to pursue a better future. 

Here's how your donation can help: 

Your donation stays in Perry County and solves problems. It helps reduce the county's reliance on unemployment, public assistance, and housing subsidies by heightening the education levels of residents. 

Even more, your donation pays it forward and helps create new pathways to jobs that pay. Specifically, every adult who earns a GED contributes an additional $60,000 in tax revenue over a lifetime. 

To see specifically how your donation impacts a life, check out our info graph below.