Madison County coalition shares success stories, ideas for promoting literacy

Madison County coalition shares success stories, ideas for promoting literacy

Oneida, N.Y. >> Leaders in the mission to increase literacy in Madison County gathered on Thursday, Jan. 26 with more than three dozen members of the Literacy Coalition of Madison County coming together to learn about and discuss key literacy initiatives in our region.

The meeting, which was held in the Gorman Foundation Community Center in Oneida, was a positive and energy-filled event.

“Every time this group of committed advocates for literacy comes together I can feel the passion and enthusiasm. I am convinced that we are continuing to make progress in our literacy efforts because this group has a shared goal of attacking literacy needs in Madison county,” Mike Drahos, the coalition executive director said.

Drahos began the meeting by highlighting the history of the coalition and then turned the meeting over to keynote speaker Hank Leo.


Leo is the CEO of the YMCA of the Greater Tri-Valley, author, former executive director of the Greater Oneida Chamber of Commerce, and leader of Madison County non-profit coalition. Highlighting his story as a student through several books that he has authored, Leo shared his passion for reading and the importance of literacy efforts in our county.

Carla DeShaw, the Executive Dean for Community Education and Workforce Development at Cayuga Community College, spoke of the partnership between the Center for Instruction, Technology & Innovation (CiTi) and Cayuga Community College. Rather than being competing entities with parallel missions she described how this partnership had created new opportunities for adult learnings in Oswego County.

Betsy Kennedy, the Cazenovia, Public Librarian shared the success of literacy efforts through the CazCares food pantry. The presentation focused on how an idea to expand the library’s mission started small and grew to include myriad literacy opportunities for the families.

Finally, several districts shared how the One Book-One School/District program has positively impacted their wider learning communities.

Tina Lane, Assistant Superintendent, Oneida City School District; Liz Wise, elementary librarian, Morrisville-Eaton Central Schools; and Toni Halliday, elementary principal, Sherburne-Earlville Central Schools, each described how the adoption, distribution, and focus on reading of a single book created excitement and reading opportunities.

The Literacy Coalition of Madison County NY was founded in 2009 and is committed to raising child, family, and adult literacy throughout the county. Over 50 community organizations are part of this combined effort to address literacy needs.

To learn more about the group go to the website at, or visit their Facebook page at Literacy Coalition of Madison County NY.

Source: Oneida Daily Dispatch
Madison County coalition shares success stories, ideas for promoting literacy

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