Dear Friends,

In the midst of what can only be called surreal times, I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well. Of the many things I miss from our pre-pandemic lives, hugging may top the list. As the days and months melt into each other, I can’t remember my last hug. I think it was in early March. When was your last hug?

During this unprecedented time, the Augustine Literacy Project Board and staff knew immediately that we would need to make significant changes to our programming to continue to meet the critical needs of the children and families we serve. We took a deep breath and resolved to do everything possible to continue serving children from low-income households who struggle with literacy skills. 


I’m writing to share the exciting ways that we have adjusted and adapted to ensure that we continue to achieve our mission to improve the reading, writing, and spelling abilities of children who struggle with literacy skills.


  • When schools closed in March and children returned home to finish out the school year remotely, COVID-19 paralyzed all of us. Unable to tutor face-to-face, we pivoted, developing an online training and tutoring model as an opportunity to continue to fulfill our mission.


  • A generous donor offered a matching grant, enabling us to train volunteers at no cost, increasing our number of active tutors.  We met the match and raised over $25,000.


  • The first online training yielded 20 + new tutors. We will offer two training sessions in early 2021.


  • Conversations with the director of Ignite, Durham Public Schools Online Academy, opened up a sustainable delivery method for virtual learning for the most vulnerable of our children. The children of essential workers don’t always have the support necessary to navigate devices and establish reliable WIFI connections.


ALP-T has been working with a sense of urgency for eight months now. We are proud to have been able to overcome multiple obstacles and roadblocks along the way. We beginning to Build Literacy by Breaking down Barriers to make education equal for all. Young students continue to work one-on-one with an Augustine tutor to improve reading and spelling skills. We expect to see steady progress as the rest of the school year unfolds.


Thank you so much for helping us continue to create a community and support the children we serve. Your past support plays an essential role in keeping our good work going. We are forever grateful.


2020 has been a challenging year for us all! Everyone is affected somehow; some, including Augustine students, have suffered more than others by this global pandemic. During this time of great uncertainty, we are encouraged by your passion, resilience, and commitment to our mission and would like to ask that you join us again during this season.


As an organization, we are hopeful in the near future we will look at this difficult time in the “rearview mirror.” When we do, it will be with immense pride in how we individually and collectively, responded.


We wish you and your family health, happiness, and hope during the holiday season in the coming year. 


Hoping for many more hugs in 2021,



Lori Easterlin

Executive Director