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Colvin Center

photo housing authorityLocal Action, Global Impact

Through the Colvin Center, ProLiteracy is collaborating with local member programs and other partners on research, demonstration, and public service. Best practices developed through the Colvin Center will be shared with ProLiteracy’s member network, creating national and international impact and contributing to Central New York’s growing reputation for innovation.

Current Colvin Center programming includes:

  • Digital Literacy and Broadband Access Initiative
  • Cultural Responsiveness Workshops
  • Resident Engagement and Leadership Development Program

Digital Literacy and Broadband Access Initiative 

Our Digital Literacy and Broadband Access Initiative provides adults and older youth with access to computers equipped with high-speed broadband Internet, as well as the training needed to use this technology safely and effectively.

Resources available through this program include:

  • An 18-workstation public computing center at our headquarters.
  • Instructional software for adult learners, including English language learners and individuals who are preparing for the GED exam.
  • Free digital literacy instruction and training.
  • Satellite computing centers at partner locations in Central New York, including the North Side Learning Center and the Syracuse Housing Authority Getting Ahead Computer Learning Center and GED Preparation Program.

As resources and curriculum are developed, they will be made available on ProLiteracy Education Network, ProLiteracy’s online clearinghouse for free instructional resources to adult literacy and ESOL instructors, learners, and program staff.

Cultural Responsiveness Workshops

These workshops help equip literacy instructors and service providers with skills to better serve our culturally diverse community. In the classroom, cultural sensitivity leads to quicker inclusion of students. In the community, awareness of cultural norms and practices is essential knowledge for service providers who interact with people from a variety of backgrounds.

Participants leave with practical tools and strategies that can be adapted to help students, patrons and colleagues in any environment understand and value the cultures of others. They also learn how to prepare the people they serve to succeed in different cultural environments, like a new job or school.

Initial support for the development of the Cultural Responsiveness Workshop was provided through a 2009 grant from the United States Department of Education.

For more information, or to schedule a customized workshop for your groups, contact Kofi Addai, project coordinator, at

photo literacy for social changeResident Engagement and Leadership Development Program

Using proven methods from ProLiteracy’s international program work, Colvin Center staff members work with groups of local residents to examine concrete social challenges while supporting the development of critical-thinking, problem-solving, advocacy, and leadership skills. Participants learn to use ProLiteracy’s Literacy for Social Change process to identify a real, actionable challenge in the community, and to create a grassroots plan to address this challenge. ProLiteracy provides resources, including meeting space and facilitation and a small budget, to help the group achieve the goals that emerge through this collaborative process. The skills developed throughout the process also help prepare residents to actively participate in other community organizations. 

Currently, Colvin Center staff members are working with members of Syracuse’s Westside Residents Coalition to develop an action plan to repair and maintain the network of sidewalks in the Near West Side neighborhood.

We are currently recruiting participants for future Resident Engagement and Leadership Development cohorts. If you would like to learn more, please contact Kofi Addai, project coordinator, at

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