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A silent issue in central Illinois that holds back thousands of adults in life is the problem of illiteracy.

One local group is reaching out in the Decatur area to help those who either cannot read or struggle to comprehend what they are reading. Julie Pangrack is the Literacy Coordinator for Project READ through Richland Community College. She says while illiteracy is often associated with children, they are finding adults are the ones who are struggling.

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Pangrack says in Macon County alone they have found there are tens of thousands of adults who do not currently have a high school diploma. She says while the numbers are quite staggering for Macon County, the problem is far greater in Illinois and America as a whole.

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With huge numbers, the task is certainly daunting for Project READ to help turn people's lives around. Pangrack explains they help people one individual at a time. She says they have trained volunteers that help people through an intensive course that is producing very good results and helping people through meeting the individual needs of their students.

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Once a student who comes into the program comes to the realization they are improving, their confidence grows, and they begin to set higher goals for themselves. Pangrack says this program has transformed the lives of many people . She says helping people who struggle with reading can improve the communities in which we live.

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There is currently a 100-person waiting list to get into the program, however, anyone wanting more information about enrolling in the program or volunteering can visit www.projectread.richland.edu or can email Pangrack at projectread@richland.edu.

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