We would love to help you learn to speak, read, and write English. If you have trouble completing the application, please feel free to email us.


Estaremos encantados de ayudarte a hablar, leer y escribir en inglés. Si tienes problemas completando la aplicación, por favor escríbenos.

Our 2022 Giving Challenge Story

Manatee Literacy Council (MLC) was grateful to learn about the Giving Challenge in 2013 and has been participating ever since. In 2022, we were able to reach a new height in donations and put them to good use.  With the ever-increasing need for literacy support in our community, we needed more help in our office and used some of these funds to hire an additional part-time Program Coordinator.

Marcela Vanegas came to us with a wealth of experience and knowledge.  Originally from Colombia, Marcela speaks fluent Spanish, Portuguese and English.  She understands, as an English language learner, the difficulties of learning a new language, especially English, and can empathize with our learners. As a passionate advocate for education, she persuaded the principal of her children’s school to let her lead a group of Latina women in helping them learn English and gain more confidence and self-esteem to advocate for their children. 

Marcela has been instrumental in helping develop our Family Literacy program in collaboration with Parenting Matters in several Manatee County Title 1 schools.  This program brings together parents and children to advance a 2Gen approach.  As a Parent Educator with Parenting Matters when her children were young, Marcela has worked with the staff at Parenting Matters to develop an incredible program for local families. Parent Educator, Elizabeth Sierra, shares that “Working with Marcela at Manatee Literacy was a great blessing. I could see her passion for teaching when we worked together for Family Literacy. She is very dynamic and passionate about everything she does and wants everything to go well so she can effectively help families in the community. She is authentic, has a lot of energy, and encourages others with her enthusiasm and her leadership.” Marcela has also held informational sessions for UnidosNow, CreArte Latino, the Women’s Resource Center, and others as she champions literacy opportunities for Manatee County. 

Marcela has become such an integral part of our organization that we were thrilled she accepted a full-time position after working here for 8 months. Her current role includes developing and teaching Family Literacy and Fundamental English classes and working closely with tutors and learners to find successful matches.  She is also the first point of contact for all new learners, serving as an inspiration to all!

Each time it is held, the Giving Challenge allows the Manatee Literacy Council to raise much-needed funds; increase awareness of literacy needs; and find new volunteers to advance our mission.  The support from participants has been transformational in helping people learn to read, write, and speak English. MLC is thankful to the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, The Patterson Foundation, and the many donors in our community for participating in each event, allowing us to improve lives for individuals and increase the literacy rate in Manatee County.