Photo – L-R, Eleana Turcios, David Zinni, Tiffany Soto, Avery Smith, Esq. Mary Ann Przekurat

Allentown, PA. – Former students were honored for their significant achievements at The Literacy Center’s annual signature fundraising event, Faces of Literacy, Our Story, Our Students on Oct. 4th at Muhlenberg College.  Muhlenberg’s Wescoe School of Continuing Education was the event’s co-sponsor.  The event, originated in 2013, featured a photographic exhibition created by Marco Calderon, himself, a former student at the center, now an accomplished professional photographer who also serves as a member of the board of directors.

The three chosen students, David Zinni, Eleana Turcios and Tiffany Soto overcame challenging obstacles, persevered through extreme difficulties, and ultimately are leading successful lives, in part through the education and assistance they received from The Literacy Center.  Their stories are compelling examples of the power of education, personal determination and strength of character.

David Zinni


Trials and tribulations in his life brought David from Conshohocken to The Allentown Rescue Mission in 2006.  While living at The Rescue Mission and upon completing two programs there, David was connected with an educational mentor from The Literacy Center.  Through hard work and determination he was able to earn his GED, and shortly thereafter began classes at Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC).  Ten years after beginning his journey David received an Associates Degree from LCCC and currently serves as the Program Coordinator for The Allentown Rescue Mission, helping people who have walked similar paths as himself.

In 2016, David was honored by The Literacy Center as the recipient of the Linda V. McCrossan Award, given to people who embody the motivation and tenacity to improve their lives through literacy.

Eleana Turcios


Eleana came to the U.S. from Honduras. She began studying English in Newark, NJ but due to responsibilities at home, curtailed her education. As a single mother with a full time job, her first priority was her family.  At the suggestion of a friend she explored the notion of interior and exterior painting as a career. She was hooked from the moment she picked up her first brush.

In 2001 Eleana relocated to Allentown where she has extended family members residing.  Upon arrival in her new hometown, Eleana enrolled in ESL classes at The Literacy Center. She mastered the intermediate level and began searching for meaningful employment in her field.   Positions with City Line Construction, Drywall Painting of Quakertown and JC Painting followed.  While she gained valuable experience she often found herself a victim of discrimination as a woman working in a man’s world.  In 2007, she took a leap of faith and made the decision to open her own business, ECT Painting. She is now the proud owner of a thriving enterprise and proclaims: “I will not lose my faith and will continue to grow and prosper.”

Tiffany Soto –


Tiffany spent most of her early life in Brooklyn.  While a teenager she left home and arrived in Allentown. Enrolled in high school and the mother of two children under the age of five, it was difficult to provide for her children, work, and attend high school.  She chose to drop out of high school but was determined to have a career. She enrolled in The Literacy Center’s GED classes, recognizing that education was a key step to any future career path. Tiffany was an excellent and highly motivated student, obtaining her GED in five months. Within a few days after graduation she began searching post-secondary education options. She decided that Lincoln Technical Institute’s Medical Assistant Program was the “perfect fit” for her.  At the top of her class, Tiffany enjoys the challenges and diversity of the medical field and will graduate in December 2016.

Att. Avery Smith, Congressman Dent, Mary Ann Przekurat, Exec. Director
Att. Avery Smith, Congressman Dent, Mary Ann Przekurat, Exec. Director

Faces of Literacy: Our Story, Our Students

Faces of Literacy is a unique event highlighting The Literacy Center and the remarkable accomplishments of amazing students.  We firmly believe that helping adults improve their literacy education not only opens the door for better employment, but for a happier, more fulfilling life.

Faces of Literacy features the works of former Literacy Center student and professional photographer, Marco Calderon.  All Faces of Literacy photos are displayed at The Center and their stories illustrate how improved literacy skills influence a life, impact a family, build community, inspire a desire for community involvement, and change lives.

Supporters of literacy education attended the inspiring event, including Congressman Charlie Dent, Avery Smith, Esq., president of the TLC board, Muhlenberg President John Williams, Executive Director MaryAnn Przekurat, Alan and Mary Salinger, Warren & Lynn Armstrong, Judy and Dr. Alan Morrison, Marci Ronald, Brenda Truhe, Jane Hudak, Dean of the Wescoe School, Dr. Nichola & Geoff Gutgold, Marcy McKinney, Rev. William & Linda Maxon, AJ Lemheney and David Sommers. Additional event sponsors included Campbell, Rappold & Yurasits, King, Spry, Herman, Freund and Faul. Music was provided by The Ian Cunningham Trio.


Information provided by:
Christine Baude
The Literacy Center
1132 Hamilton Street, Suite 300
Allentown, PA 18101-2420
Phone 610.435.0680