The Key Peninsula Outreach program, which focuses on adult as well as youth literacy and other local services, will kick off its GED training classes Jan. 5, thanks in part to a recent $5,500 grant by Target.

Key Peninsula Outreach was started by a coalition of local organizations along with Tacoma Community College’s Gig Harbor campus and Tacoma Community House, which also has an employment program on the Key Pen. The outreach effort has a variety of aspects, but literacy is a major focus.

Local schools and the KP Family Resources Center have volunteered staff and space for GED testing, the first step for someone who would like to enroll in the program. The grant will pay for books and other materials.

Local resident Leslie Piery will conduct the classes. Piery couldn’t be a better fit: She too has received a GED and has a first-hand view of adult literacy.

In addition to the classes, which will be held every Monday and Wednesday at the Home fire station, volunteer tutors will provide one-on-one assistance.

“A lot of groups have worked together to make this happen,” said TCC’s Bob Strobe. “We’ve been trying to get something started in the area because there is nothing else available.”

Although GED training is geared toward adults, children will also benefit, Strobe said, because literacy starts at home. They will also receive books and “literacy backpacks” with a variety of materials. Part of the grant will be used at Evergreen Elementary School, for after-school reading events and other activities.

Eventually, the goal is to add evening classes so working adults can also participate, and maybe even expand the program by adding English as a Second Language tutoring. KP’s Jeff Harris, former Communities in School director, facilitates one ESL offering at the Gig Harbor location, Talk Time, a chance for non-native English speakers to socialize while honing their English skills.

GED courses
If you’d like to learn more about receiving your GED and taking the placement test, call Bob Strobe at TCC at 851-2424 or Vicki Biggs at KPFRC at 884-5433. The program is free and anyone interested is eligible to participate.