KALAHEO — In December, the Hawaii Literacy program on Kauai had a steady number of tutors who volunteered their time to teach adult students.
The pool of 30 tutors, however, dwindled to the current figure of three.
Dennis Dresser, adult literacy coordinator on Kauai, is desperately seeking tutors willing to put in time to assist with adult illiteracy on the Garden Isle.
“I’m almost 86, (and) I need to get two to three tutors very quickly because I just can’t continue to run around all over town,” he said.
Dresser, who started the program on Kauai over a decade ago, said the goal of the nonprofit is to help anyone who is willing to learn.
“If we can get several people who want to be trained, it’s usually a two-day situation, usually two Saturdays,” he said.
Dresser’s wife, Claudia, trains potential tutors and may be able to shorten the training to a longer, one-day session.
About one in six adults have problems reading and writing in the state, including about 5,600 adults on Kauai, according to Hawaii Literacy.
In the nation, that number ranges between 30 million and 40 million.
The training and tutoring are free, Dresser said.
“If I get a student from Kapaa, I start looking for tutors who will come to that area,” he said. “In each case, we put the two together because they’re in the same area.”
Students and tutors may set, according to their own schedule, how many times they meet and for how long.
“If the student can’t make it, he or she calls the tutor,” he said. “If the student doesn’t call three times, you’re out of the program. The tutor’s the same way. The tutor can’t leave a student to stand out on the street waiting for them.”
Dresser estimates 300-400 students have gone through the program.
“We teach them applications, how to use a computer, fill out forms to get drivers license,” he said. “We’re a full-service agency. We tutor them for things that will help their lives.”