Free ESL Classes for South Orange County, CA

About the Literacy Council


Our Mission

We are an all-volunteer educational and charitable non-profit organization serving south Orange County, California. Our principal mission is to assist adults to:

  • acquire the English language skills they need for daily living;
  • take advantage of employment opportunities; and
  • integrate fully into society.

Contact Us

Contact the South Coast Literacy Council by:


Donations are extremely important for subsidizing purchases of English language workbooks, ESL newspapers, and other reading materials for those of our over 800 students who can’t afford them. Although we have no paid staff and all our tutors are volunteers, we do have administrative costs that need to be covered. Students pay no registration or tuition fees.

We're a non-profit tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Our Tax I.D. number is 95-3446927, and all contributions are 100% tax-deductible.

Membership fees of $10 per year cover some of our costs. Donations cover a larger portion of our costs, and the majority of donations come from individual donors.

If you are reading this, please help! $10 will be a great benefit. A little more is even better!

To mail donations, please make checks payable to “South Coast Literacy Council” and send to P.O. Box 295, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0295.


Click to download our quarterly newsletter or a collection of previous newsletters.

Board of Directors

Board meetings are held from 10:00 am to noon on the third Saturday of January, March, May, July, September, and November in the Katie Wheeler Library, 13109 Old Myford Road, Irvine.

Executive Officers
President: Barbara Looney ( Vice President-Administration: Joan Nadeau
Vice President-ESL: Harriet Kelly ( Recording Secretary: Lesley Bindloss
Corresponding Secretary: Sandra Malone ( Treasurer: Aparna Venkateswaran (


Administrative Officers
Newsletter Editor: Karen Dvorman ( Publicity: Barbara Amato (
Public Relations: Barbara Amato ( Hospitality: Vicki Sommer
Center Directors' Rep.: Jerry Kostka ( Past President: Judy Sparanese


Committee Chairs
Center Records: Pat McLaughlin Database Maintenance and Directory: Jan Lindbloom
Membership: Karen Crouch ( Fund Development: Sandra Williams (
Sunshine: Judy Aleta (


Other Functions
Tutor Training: Harriet Kelly ( Member at Large: Ilene Slapin
Webmaster: Jack Landau ( Member at Large: Linda Ito (
Member at Large: Carolyn William  


Center Directors
Barbara Amato Peter Knapp Mario Soria
Barbara Looney John Gleason Connie O'Leary
Harriet Kelly Lynn Osth Susan Collins
Linda Ito Peggy McAllister Jeanne Williams
Perry Hamilton Jack Landau Virginia Boureston
Carol Penn/Jan Miles Pat Heilig Jim Gustafson
Paul Walker Vicki Sommer Sandra Williams


The South Coast Literacy Council began in 1970 when the first tutor training was held and the first tutoring center was established at St. Edwards Church in Capistrano Beach. In 1978 we incorporated as an educational and charitable non-profit educational corporation operating under the guidelines of Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3).

The Council received materials and guidelines for training from Laubach Literacy Action in Syracuse, New York until August 2002, when they merged with Literacy Volunteers of America to form ProLiteracy. We then became an affiliate of ProLiteracy. California Literacy, Inc. in Pasadena advised and aided us with funding possibilities and further education until that organization disbanded in 2007. South Coast Literacy Council now relies on donations and small grants plus the services of its volunteers, which enable us to continue providing classes in our local communities.

In 2018 we will celebrate 48 years of service. Now we have classes at 24 tutoring sites, with over 1000 students and 195 active volunteers. Every year we hold workshops for tutor education and motivation, and we present service awards at an annual tutor recognition event every spring.


  • We are a member of ProLiteracy, a nonprofit international literacy organization based in Syracuse, NY.
  • We are a recognized nonprofit organization in the Nonprofit Central database of ConnectOC, an initiative of the Orange County Community Foundation.
  • OneOC in Santa Ana, CA helps us track our volunteers. They encourage people to become personally involved in making our community a good and welcoming place to live, work, and raise families.
  • VolunteerMatch is a national organization that helps us recruit volunteers to teach English. Their popular service welcomes millions of visitors a year and has become the preferred Internet recruiting tool for morethan 75,000 nonprofit organizations.



Website, photography, and online tutor training by Jack Landau