“The mission of this organization is to promote and support learning opportunities for adults in the Athens area,” said Ritter. “There is a great need for what we do here in Athens.”
A native of Newport News, Va., Ritter moved to Athens from Philadelphia, Pa., where she attended the University of Pennsylvania for her undergraduate degree and Temple University for her master’s degree in education. Ritter taught at the University of Georgia's Developmental Studies Program for six years before teaching at Athens Technical College for more than 20 years. Throughout all of her experiences, Ritter’s passion for people and equipping them with the best resources remains the same.
“Mrs. Ritter goes above and beyond to make others feel known, appreciated and empowered,” said Kimberly Taylor, one of Ritter’s partners from Action Ministries.
Ritter believes that developing literacy skills helps the community as a whole because these skills enable learners to improve their chances of both employment and self-fulfillment. That’s why she is so devoted to the services provided by the ACLC.
The purpose of the ACLC is a three-fold process. The board first publicizes the extent of illiteracy and promotes the benefits of ending it. Then it coordinates services among community, state and federal agencies as an “umbrella organization.” Finally, its members raise funds through grant writing and direct solicitation.
The ACLC offers GED (General Educational Development) and literacy classes for adults in addition to GED scholarships. Obtaining a GED opens up so many doors for people because it is almost impossible to get a good job without one.
“The first rung on the ladder is achieving a GED,” said Ritter, “ everyone wants to be productive; people are marginalized by not being able to read.”
Interestingly, the appeal of a GED is not the main reason people become interested in the adult literacy courses. Ritter attributes the desire to read the Holy Bible as being the main reason adults wanted to learn to read. Fortunately, the desire to become more literate often leads people into GED classes.
Ritter wants to expand learning opportunities in Athens-Clarke County. She wants to create GED classes for adult learners in eastside Athens, because currently none are offered there.
Ritter also wants to revamp the ACLC image. Her new mantra for the organization is “Literacy is everybody’s business.” Ritter believes that everyone benefits when we have a literate population. This is why she and the ACLC board strive to raise visibility and support for people who need adult education.
“Mrs. Ritter employs her personal mantra to fully engage the community by promoting literacy and spreading the word about the personal and economic costs of illiteracy in our community,” said Shary Karlin, a board member of the ACLC.
A typical workday for Ritter includes answering numerous emails and forwarding a lot of information. She spends a large amount of her workday recruiting tutors for the program. She is in charge of the annual adult spelling bee, the ACLC’s major fundraiser for providing GED scholarships to students. The ACLC also puts on a scrabble fundraiser for the purpose of raising awareness.
Ritter is a stronghold in her community and it is evident that her co-workers and volunteers view her as such.
“Annice is a lifelong educator who is dedicated to providing resources to adults with literacy needs,” said Barbara McLaughlin, a volunteer tutor for the ACLC. “Her energy and commitment are boundless.”
After being involved in adult education for over three decades, Ritter is still motivated because her position allows her to make an impact in her community. In her opinion, she has the best job description in Athens Clarke-County and she can explain why in one sentence.
“I get to create opportunities for adults to become the best that they can be.”