A North Charleston branch of the Trident Literacy Association that closed in June has reopened after volunteers stepped up to run the location for free.
Trident Literacy Association reopened Tuesday its site at 1914 Reynolds Ave. in the Tricounty Family Ministries building after being closed for more than two months. Executive Director Eileen Chepenik said the association pulled the plug on classes at the location in June as a way to divert around $30,000 to pay for a program director's position that had been vacant for more than a year. The site operated with two paid staff and several volunteers. Around 40 students were served there last year.
After hearing from volunteers and students who were upset at the decision to close the location, Chepenik worked with Tricounty Family Ministries to reopen at its Reynolds Avenue building rent-free with an all volunteer staff.
"It's easy to corporately make a decision but you don't feel the impact on the people that you're serving or the volunteers serving on-site who felt as deeply as the students did," Chepenik said.
The chief issue with the closure, Chepenik said, were concerns that students wouldn't be able to attend classes at one of the association's other locations in North Charleston, Charleston, Goose Creek or Moncks Corner.
"Many of our students don't have transportation to come to other locations or don't have bus money," she said.
Marty McGee, who is running the Reynolds Avenue branch as an unpaid volunteer, said she previously worked with the association and didn't hesitate to step in. McGee said she was inspired by the long-time volunteers who didn't want to see the location shuttered.
"They saw the need," she said. "They have made connections with those students and are invested in their progress."
Trident Literacy provides classes and individual tutoring to adults who are illiterate or learning English as a second language. The Association also provides courses for GED preparation, computer and job training, and WorkKeys testing to earn career readiness certificates. Students can enroll in courses with the association for $5 per month.