Insightful Discussions
May 4, 2022

The Luncheon for Literacy: More than a Meal

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On Thursday, May 19, 2022, the Cape Fear Literacy Council will celebrate the return of our signature event and fundraiser, the annual Luncheon for Literacy, after a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many aspects of post-pandemic living, a few things are different. This year we will gather outdoors at the Watermark Marina overlooking the Cape Fear River, with guests seated under a spacious tent. Attendees can expect an empowering atmosphere, breathtaking views, and a delicious meal catered by A Thyme Savor.
Watermark Marina
What remains the same is the experience:

  • An inspired performance by our Reader’s Theater class.
  • Statements from students and tutors who share their remarkable journeys.
  • A presentation from a dynamic keynote that champions the importance of literacy.

We are honored to feature award-winning poet and author Jaki Shelton Green as our speaker for this event. She is the first African American and third woman appointed to serve as Poet Laureate of North Carolina. 
An honoree in the N.C. Literary Hall of Fame, Jaki Shelton Green is a captivating storyteller and a presence at the podium. While working in development at a nonprofit, Jaki answered destiny’s call to become a full-time writer. “I have been writing since I was a small child, thanks to my grandmother’s encouragement and her belief in the value of literacy,” she reflected during an interview. Jaki is a native of Orange County, NC. She is the owner of SistaWRITE, providing writing retreats for women writers in Arizona, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Northern Morocco, and Ireland.
Another pillar of the Luncheon is the lively atmosphere. The occasion provides the perfect networking experience for local professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders at every level. Our sponsors and partners have the opportunity to both engage event-goers and gain a broader understanding of their potential impact on their neighbors.
We are looking forward to seeing friendly faces and celebrating CFLC’s commitment to education, leadership, and service in Wilmington and beyond! But this annual event is more than just getting together for a meal – one of the most crucial functions of the Luncheon for Literacy is advocacy. Our board, staff, and volunteers continually work to address one of our society’s most critical silent crises: adult low literacy
“Low literacy prevents millions of Americans from fully participating in our society and our economy as parents, workers, and citizens... It lies at the core of multigenerational cycles of poverty, poor health, and low educational attainment, contributing to the enormous equity gap that exists in our country.” 
(Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy)
Did you know? Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 60,000 adults lived without the basic education skills they needed to thrive as members of our community. By shining a light on the realities of this issue and its impact on our local economy, we can help ensure that adults in the Cape Fear region have access to the resources they need to become capable readers, speakers, and successful members of society. Strong adults and families make us all #ILMstrong!
How does the Cape Fear Literacy Council support adults? We offer FREE assessment and tailored instruction to adults through one-on-one tutoring and small classes through our Adult Literacy and English as a Second Language (ESL) education programs, including reading, writing, English conversation, math, test preparation, U.S. Citizenship, and digital literacy. Each year we serve hundreds of adults of all ages (18 and older) who come to us with unique stories about life, determination, and the goals they want to achieve.

How can YOU help the Cape Fear Literacy Council?
• Attend the Luncheon: Reserve your seat for this incredible event! The Luncheon is an integral source of support for the Cape Fear Literacy Council’s annual fund. Every aspect of an adult learner’s education and experience at CFLC is provided at no cost to our students, which means every student benefits from the Luncheon.
• Support our Campaign for Literacy: You can play a vital role in advancing our mission by helping us to raise $200,000 in our #CampaignForLiteracy! LiveOak Bank will match every donation up to $30,000 – a gift in any amount makes a significant impact!
• Become a Volunteer: Our programs and events rely on volunteer power! Please help us make a difference in the lives of adult learners in the Cape Fear region.
The Cape Fear Literacy Council is an award-winning 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 1985. Our vision is a community in which all adults have the literacy and language skills they need to succeed. Learn more about CFLC by visiting

Alesha Edison Westbrook is the Director of Communications for the Cape Fear Literacy Council. With more than fifteen years of nonprofit program management experience, Alesha’s focus is on using vibrant, captivating marketing to share the impactful stories of CFLC’s students and supporters with the broader community. Committed to nurturing a “growth mindset,” she is passionate about education. Alesha joined the staff at the Literacy Council in 2016.