In the News

The Literacy Council 2012/2013 Annual Report is now available online.You can read it here

December 2013
The Literacy Council Goes to Jail

Did you know that 75% of state prison inmates did not complete high school or can be classified as low literate? Our volunteers hope to improve that statistic. Adult Education tutors now have the option to tutor inmates at Craggy prison. Currently, Craggy has an impressive library and a GED program for inmates. However, there are some men there who are unable to take advantage of these opportunities because of their literacy struggles. The Literacy Council's Adult Education Director, working closely with staff at Craggy prison, has been conducting intake meetings with carefully selected inmates and has begun to match them with tutors. Craggy staff has offered the use of their classroom space, whiteboards, and other materials that might be useful during the tutoring process. If you would like more information about this opportunity, please contact Lily at 828-254-3442 or

December 2013
Part 4 of Series in WNC Woman Magazine Profiling Lit Council Students

In the next installment of WNC Woman Magazine's series profiling our students, Adult Ed & Augustine Project Director Lily Contorer relates the story of one of our many students who hides her reading struggles from others, even from those closest to her. While "Sara" didn't want to reveal her face or real name to the public, she is very open about the ways that her reading struggles have affected her. Click here to read this poignant article.

November 27, 2013
Ashley's "Letter to the Editor"

Last Wednesday, Executive Director of the Literacy Council, Ashley Lasher, published a heartfelt thank you to our many amazing volunteers in the "Letters to the Editor" section of the Asheville Citizen-Times last week. Click here to read her her letter. 

November 2013
Part 3 of Series in WNC Woman Magazine Profiling Lit Council Students

Part Three in our series in WNC Woman Magazine highlights Claudia Camacho, who came to the United States with her husband in exile from their home country of Colombia when political opponents threatened their lives. Read her story here.

October 2013
Part 2 of Series in WNC Woman Magazine Profiling Lit Council Students

The October edition of WNC Woman is out, featuring Part 2 in a series that highlights Literacy Council students. Here is the link to our story about Elaine Young.

September 24, 2013
2013 Sector Stewardship Award

The Literacy Council was a 2013 Sector Stewardship award winner at the N.C. Center for Nonprofits conference. Click here to read the NC Center for Nonprofits press release featured in Mountain Xpress.

August 2013
Part 1 of Series in WNC Woman Magazine Profiling Lit Council Students

Here is a link to Part 1 of this series, featuring student Timica Brooks.

July 26, 2013
Publisher's Weekly article: "The Fight for Literacy in the South"

Our Executive Director, Ashley Lasher, was quoted in this Publisher's Weekly article, entitled "The Fight for Literacy in the South."

September 17, 2013
Main FM Show: “Not Until Heaven: Adult Literacy in Asheville”

The Literacy Council of Buncombe County was profiled on MAIN FM 103.7 on Tues. Sept. 17th 7:00pm. Thank you to our tutors, Jessica Rehfield, Mary Sugeir, and Jennifer Hart Love for their brilliant interviews and our students Elaine Young (also featured in the WNC Woman article) and Ricardo Sales for sharing their heartwarming stories. The 30 minute radio show was titled, “Not Until Heaven: Adult Literacy in Asheville” in response to a very powerful story shared by Elaine Young during her interview. As a child, Elaine was told by her fellow church members that, because of her educational difficulties, she would never be as good as anyone else until she got to heaven. It was a statement that both hurt and motivated Elaine to persevere through all of life’s challenges and eventually to seek assistance with reading, writing and spelling from the Literacy Council. Click here to listen to the show.

June 6, 2013
Asheville Citizen Times Augustine Project Coverage

The Asheville Citizen Times published a June 5, 2013 article about the power of the Literacy Council's Augustine Project, serving low-income children reading below grade level in Buncombe County. Click here to read the article.

March 3, 2013
New Adult Education and Augustine Program Director Lily Contorer

We are excited to welcome Lily Contorer as our Adult Education and Augustine Program Director. Lily has seen multi-sensory language instruction work in the inner city of Chicago (her hometown) and in the deserts of Arizona.  Now that she resides in beautiful Buncombe County, she vows to do her part to spread the love of literacy throughout Western North Carolina. .Click here to read more about Lily.

January 3, 2013
New Development Director Michelle Robinson

We are excited to welcome Michelle Robinson as our new Development Director.   Michelle is a native of South Carolina who relocated to Asheville 17 years ago. She is excited to be a part of the Literacy Council and to join a team of people dedicated to making a difference in the lives of others.  Michelle has spent most of her professional career working in non-profits helping children in need.Click here to read more about Michelle.

October 26, 2012
Executive Director Announcement

We are excited and pleased to announce that the Board of Directors of the Literacy Council of Buncombe County has approved Ashley Lasher, our current Development Director, as our new Executive Director.  Ashley’s new duties will begin on November 1, 2012. To read the full letter from Board Chair Gene Adams click here

July 23, 2012
Jill Conner Browne to speak at Asheville Literacy Event

Best-selling author Jill Conner Browne will be the keynote speaker at the Literacy Council of Buncombe County's annual fundraiser Aug 24. To read more click here

July 6, 2012
Literacy Council featured on Spotlight Carolina

Tiffany Ervin interviews our own Ashley Lasher. You can watch the video by followiing the link. Click here

May 18, 2012
Literacy Council Executive Transition Updates

As the Literacy Council moves through this period of transition, we want to keep you up to date on our progress. Please follow the links below to to read the latest information.
Announcement 5/1/2012
Update 5/18/2012
Update 7/10/2012
Update 8/2/12


October 28, 2011
From Asheville to Cambodia: Literacy volunteers visit a student's homeland

"She moves with massive grace, a slight wiggle from side to side like a big-bottomed woman in stiletto heels. My husband, Lynn, and I perch on a platform that rests on her shoulders and sway with her." Join Tutors Cheryl and Lynn as they recall their trip to Cambodia to visit the homeland of Lynn's student Wann. To read the story as printed in the paper click here. Want more? To read the full version detailing thier trip click here.

September 21,2011
Vote: 2011 Asheville City Council Candidate Survey Responses and Voter Guide

The guide features responses by candidates to an eight-question survey that covers issues such as child poverty, the school achievement gap, transportation, and affordable housing. Children First/CIS thanks the following 13 other nonprofit co-sponsors: ABIPA, Asheville City Schools Foundation, Christians for a United Community, Just Economics of WNC, Irene Wortham Center, League of Women Voters of Asheville-Buncombe County, Literacy Council of Buncombe County, MANNA Food Bank, On Track Financial Education and Counseling, United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County, YMCA of WNC, YWCA of Asheville, and Western NC AIDS Project. To read the report Click here

August 11,2011
2011 TWIN Honoree Spotlight: Amanda Edwards, Literacy Council of Buncombe County.

The YWCA’s Tribute to Women of Influence (TWIN) event honors women who have made significant contributions to their fields, and recognizes those organizations that support such achievements. To read more Click here

May 18, 2011
The writing on the wall: volunteer tutors critical to offset school budget cuts

Concern about looming state budget cuts has many public schools brainstorming ways to do more with less. To read more Click here

April 7,2011
Literacy Council Executive Director Honored

The UNC Asheville Alumni Association presented its alumni and student leadership awards at a campus ceremony and dinner. Amanda Edwards was recognized for her leadership at the Literacy Council of Buncombe County for the past 7 years. Special praise was given to the Literacy Council’s increase in fundraising and its expanded outreach to the community under Amanda’s leadership. Congratulations to Amanda for a well-deserved honor. To read more Click here.

March 23,2011
RBC Gift

Thank you, RBC Bank!

RBC Bank’s $5,000 contribution to the Literacy Council invests in our Adult Education program. Through this program, we match adults who read at or below a basic skills level one-on-one with a highly trained volunteer tutor.

One in ten adults in our community cannot read at or above a basic level. These limited literacy skills pose challenges with daily tasks such as: understanding the instructions on a medicine bottle, reading teachers’ notes that children bring home from school, and filling out bank deposit slips. Adult Education students have courageously taken the step to give reading another chance and often show remarkable progress as a result of working with a Literacy Council tutor.  Some earn their GEDs and others qualify for higher paying jobs. For the first time, many Adult Education students are able to read recipes, complete a job application, and help their children in school.

Research shows that for every dollar invested in Adult Education, the community receives benefits that value $33. With increased literacy skills, our students improve job prospects, increase labor productivity, assist their children as engaged and knowledgeable parents, and become active community members—in turn, building the strength of our local economy and community. We thank RBC Bank for investing in our Adult Education students’ futures.

January 2011
Renewed IRA Charitable Rollover legislation can benefit your family and our local community at large

The IRA Charitable Rollover is a provision of federal legislation that allows donors to make gifts directly to charities from their IRA accounts and avoid paying taxes.
Read the full Story


November 2010
New Partnership with the Inn on Biltmore Estate

The Inn on Biltmore Estate placed importance on their employees' English language development and approached the Literacy Council to begin a peer tutoring program. Read the full story


August 2010
Melvin R. Lane Fund Announces Grant to Literacy Council

The Melvin R. Lane Fund announced that they will award the Literacy Council of Buncombe County $150,000 over the next three years to build adaptive and technical leadership capacity; to increase the amount, diversity and sustainability of revenues; and to bring staff to full-time employment status. Read the full story


Asheville Augustine Project Launches in July

According to a recent report issued by the Asheville City Schools, only 41% of African-American third- through eighth-grade students have reading levels at or above grade level.  Approximately 18% of children in Buncombe County will not graduate high school. Read the full story


Help needed to find locations for adult ESOL small classes.

The Literacy Council continuously seeks opportunities to expand small class instruction for adults in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).   Churches, schools, libraries, retirement centers, community centers, and businesses are all good locations to host small ESOL classes.
Read the full story


eNewsletter Archives

April 2013 E-News

  • "Stopping Out"
  • Augustine Project News
  • Tutor Anniversaries
  • Spring Picnic Potluck
  • Stand against Racism
  • Montford Books and More to close


March 2013 E-News

  • Tutoring Dynamo!
  • Thanks to Aloft Asheville Downtown Hotel
  • Welcome Lily Contorer
  • Charlotte Street Computers donates tickets to LCBC
  • Bring it to the Bee
  • Thanks to New Tutors.


January 2012 E-News

  • Greetings for the New Year
  • Welcome Michelle Robinson
  • Becca transitions to AB-Tech
  • New Tutors
  • Literacy Council is looking to spruce up the office, and you can help


October 2012 E-News

  • Adult Tutoring Inspires the Whole Family
  • Thanks To our new Corporate Partner
  • Unique ways to support the Literacy Council, Aloft Hotel
  • Ten Thousand Villages Shopping Night December 7th.


August 2012 E-News

  • Her Passion for Art Supports Local Literacy
  • "Look what's out there -- what a view!"
  • Unique ways to support the Literacy Council Kappa Alpha Theta


June 2012 E-News

  • Authors for Literacy 2012
  • Post testing season at LCBC
  • Young Philantrhopist
  • Spring Potluck


April 2012 E-News

  • "Home Run Week"
  • Double the Pleasure
  • Building Young Readers
  • Wiley Cash event


February 2012 E-News

  • Most Rewarding Teaching Ever
  • Spelling Bee
  • Lesson in Pie
  • Making Manipulatives


December 2011 E-News

  • Happy Holiday


October 2011 E-News

  • Tutoring sets Volunteer on New Life Course
  • 2nd Annual Stakeholders Meeting
  • Thanks for a Successful Authors Event
  • Resources for Tutors


August 2011 E-News

  • Authors for Literacy Dinner and Silent Auction
  • Walter and Nancy McConnell Scholarship success
  • Tutor In-Service Learning Opportunities
  • Thank you Corporate Partners.


June 2011 E-News

  • Ron Rash to Keynote Authors dinner
  • Augustine Project Update
  • Casas Testing


April 2011 eNews

  • A Literacy Heroine
  • Spring Potluck
  • Fabric Art
  • Chamber Challange


February 2011 eNews

  • Preparing for Citizenship
  • Thank You RBC Bank
  • Unique Support
  • New Curtains


December 2010 eNews

  • Holiday Greetings


November 2010 eNews

  • New partnership with Inn on Biltmore Estate.
  • Local business support LCBC.
  • What we have been up to.


May 2010 eNews

  • Adult Ed Student Receives GED
  • 20th Annual Spelling Bee
  • Literacy Council volunteers Honored at DOVIA
  • Augustine Project Launches


March 2010 eNews

  • Help needed to find locations for ESOL classes.
  • Volunteer tells story of tutor-student partnership.
  • Development Director announced.

more >>


January 2010 eNews

  • Reaching out to more adult education students – an interview with Becca Loli.
  • Erin Sebelius leads TESOL seminar at Mars Hill College to help educators care for English language learners.
  • Literacy Council Board Chair Julie Heinitsh receives UNC-A Distinguished Community Service Award.

more >>


December 2009 Bulletin

  • Volunteer tutors needed for Prison Inmate Tutoring Program.   Change an inmate’s future.   Teach him or her to read.

more >>


November 2009 eNews

  • Our Literacy Council staff shares its knowledge:   Executive Director speaks at Association of Fundraising Professionals.
  • ESOL Coordinator conducts advocacy workshop at TESOL.
  • Volunteer tutors needed for Adult Ed partnership with AB Technical College to tutor at local prisons.

more >>

October 2009 eNews

  • Our ESOL students embark on writing journey with Warren Wilson College students.
  • The Book:   A poem written for the Literacy Council by Fred Chappell, Poet Laureate Emeritus of NC.
  • Grant award to teach ESOL to parents of middle school students.

more >>


September 2009 eNews

  • Mayor Terry Bellamy proclaims September as Adult Literacy Awareness Month in Asheville.
  • Hugely successful fundraiser with Sara Gruen, keynote author, at 2 nd Annual Authors for Literacy Dinner and Silent Auction.

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August 2009 eNews

  • TESOL supports Workforce Investment Act.

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July 2009 eNews

  • Announcing 2 nd Annual Authors for Literacy Dinner and Silent Auction featuring Sara Gruen, bestselling author of Water for Elephants.
  • Introducing new staff in marketing and Adult Education program.

more >>


June 2009 eNews

  • Givens Estates wins 19 th Annual Spelling Bee.
  • Open house celebrates students’ achievements with Readers Are Leaders writing exhibit.

more >>