Christene Worley is executive director of PCAT Family Literacy, a nonprofit tutoring and mentoring program that is part of an overall “Neighborhood of Promise” Initiative in Sulphur Springs. The initiative was created by the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA as a coalition of civic leaders, school officials, and nonprofit groups such as Parents & Children Advancing Together (PCAT) and the United Way of Tampa Bay.
I left my marketing career and sought out assistance from the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County. With their financial help and guidance, the PCAT Family Literacy program began in 2003.
The Sulphur Springs community is recognized as one of the most socially and economically depressed areas in Hillsborough County, with 43 percent of the population living in poverty, as compared to 13 percent countywide. Educators have found there is a strong correlation between a student’s educational achievement and his socioeconomic background. Statistics show that a child from a disadvantaged background has traditionally fallen behind the middle-class student at the rate of three months for every school year.