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About the Marion Literacy Council

The Marion County Literacy Council is a non-profit organization focused on making sure all adult citizens in Marion County have access to the resources available to help them improve their lives by improving their literacy skills.

From Humble Beginnings

The organization was founded by philanthropist Barbara Woodson in 1999. Barbara, seeing a gap in programs not available for adults who needed basic help with math and reading, created the organization as a way to improve lives. The Council was founded to teach adults to read, help students pass the GED test, and to teach English to speakers of other languages.

Since its inception, reading and GED preparation have been the main focus of our program. MCLC is responding to our diverse population growth by expanding our ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages) program as well as adding basic computer, citizenship, financial literacy and health literacy classes. The Literacy Council provides volunteers to tutor in the Marion County jail and to train inmates at Lowell Correctional Institute for women as well.

Meet our Staff

Yamila Acosta

Director of Programs & Services

Born in Cuba and raised in Miami, Florida, Yamila Acosta brings light to the Literacy Council. Acosta began her work at MCLC in 2014 as an ESOL assistant, eventually becoming a full-time employee due to her passion and commitment to each program. Yamila is naturally bilingual, accommodating perfectly to the ESOL program, but communicates through goals and personal connection with any student that walks through the door.

“I want the students to find it fun, I want them to know that anything is possible.”

Shelly Pena

Program Coordinator

Shelly Pena is a 26 year old young woman and the first born daughter of Cuban Immigrants. She has a deep love and admiration for kind people and loves to spend her free time enjoying the outdoors.

Our Executive Committee


Billy Gilchrist

HDG Hotels
Vice President

Sally Waters


Ken Boggs

First Federal Bank
Immediate Past President

R.J. Jenkins

Columbia University

Our Board Members

Ken Boggs

Chris Cervellera


Cody Clifton

Squeak Media

Ashley Dowler

AdventHealth Ocala

Howard Epstein

USA Scientific

Kay Epstein

University of Florida

Billy Gilchrist

HGD Hotels

Kevin Harrison

RJ Jenkins

Columbia University

Sarah Lambert

Keith Molinary

Ocala Health

Carlette Norwood-Williams

Jeffrey Stone

Steve Vaughn

Sally Waters

Megan Whittaker

The Keep

Leena Williams

Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services

Adam Woods

Our Programs
Literacy Council Partners and Sponsors
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