Rooms of its own: AU Literacy Center opens at the Hub

By Elizabeth Hustad

AUGUSTA — The place where many had been learning to read or to “read better” closed in 2019 for building renovations.

The students at Augusta University Literacy Center have been learning solely at its satellite locations – area schools, the public library – until this fall, when the center began serving its clients at 631 Chafee Ave. in early September.

VanDeusen’s words were also echoed by Shell Berry, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for the CSRA, back in June when the $33.5 million Hub for Community Innovation opened to the public after 18 months of design, planning and construction that all began with a $10 million donation by Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament’s corporate sponsors.

There’s a need to be “ever mindful that these buildings – even ones as extraordinary as these – are only as good as the work that happens within and through them,” Berry said then.

The Hub’s two buildings – Hub East and Hub West – are the quarters for what the Hub Augusta Collaborative is calling five “mission aligned” non-profits.

With Augusta University Literacy Center in the 33,000-square-foot Hub West are RISE Augusta, Harrisburg Family Healthcare and Augusta Locally Grown. Across the street, in Hub East, is the new headquarters of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Augusta.

“It has been said that doctors save lives, that educators change lives. We are able to accomplish both of these things due to the unique intersection of health, nutrition and education – all of these resources being available in one transformational space,” said Judi Wilson, dean of the College of Education at Augusta University. The big windows in the Literacy Center’s learning room overlook the veggie gardens of Augusta Locally Grown.

Congressman Rick Allen, who represents Augusta and Georgia’s 12th district in Washington, was one of the 100 or so people to attend the opening. Allen donated more than 230 books to the Literacy Center, all of them coming in from Washington, D.C. and the nation’s largest library, the Library of Congress.

“Sometimes we get stuck” and need a teacher’s push to get back on track, said Allen, who said his own sixth-grade teacher had to push him to work a bit harder, too.

The instructors here at the Literacy Center, he said, are “opening up the world to them as far as information and literacy is concerned.”

Teachers can give opportunity to kids to do great things, he added. “Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t accomplish what God put you here to accomplish. Don’t let anybody tell you that. You look for that passion and you will do extraordinary things and you will be fulfilled.”

Or, as Dr. Seuss might put it, “the more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

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