By Don Lowe 

   There’s no better way to show strong support for Joplin NALA (Neighborhood Adult Literacy Action) than by attending this organization’s Joplin History Murder Mystery experience early next month. 

   Joplin NALA Executive Director Jessica Pommert says, “We’re so excited to provide our very first fundraising dinner this year. Our board president, Josh Shackles, has written this fun and engaging mystery for our event. 

   “We are excited to provide a fun evening for the community to learn about the history of Joplin, learn about and support the literacy needs of our community and to have fun. Our board has been working tirelessly to put this event together and is seeking volunteers and partners to make it an enjoyable time.” 

   In explaining what Joplin NALA strives to do, Pommert says, “Our mission is to provide tuition-free programs to improve the self-sufficiency of families by supporting adult learners in their efforts to increase skills – efforts that give them access to a better life and make a positive impact on our community. 

   “We offer classes and one-on-one tutoring in literacy-related subjects, including reading, writing, math, computer literacy and English as a second language. By helping adults increase their basic skills and to understand the importance of literacy, we are helping adults reach their full potential and access all their options in life, while strengthening the literacy support for children.” 

   Pommert continues, “Our English as a Second Language classes are impactful, as they provide a place for people to make friends, while they learn a different language and learn the basics of traversing a new culture. 

   “We also provide a class for adults with different abilities. This class gives our adult students the opportunity to maintain and improve their literacy levels in reading and math, while gaining confidence and new friendships.” 

   That’s not all. “We are so grateful for the computer lab that has provided basic and intermediate computer classes and will soon offer a smartphone class. Our students have the opportunity to become digitally literate and able to do tasks that would otherwise be overwhelming without our class.” 

   As for what allows Joplin NALA to flourish, Pommert says, “We are only as successful as our students. They are the reason we work so hard. Our students begin generations-long ripple effects in their families just by walking through our doors and being ready to learn. 

   “We could not provide such a vast program without our volunteers. Our volunteers provide a kind, warm, inviting and engaging environment for our students to thrive. I truly believe we have some of the most dependable and engaged volunteers in Joplin. 

   “We also owe our success to our board members, current and past. Our board has always valued the students first and it is made obvious by their service and dedication.” 

   It’s easy to see Pommert is ecstatic to have a role in this worthwhile initiative. “The lasting impact this organization has had on our community these 42 years, our students’ resilience, the focused mission of helping others and the bright future ahead make me proud to lead this organization.” 

Joplin NALA (Neighborhood Adult Literacy Action) Fast Facts

Address: 123 South Main Street, Joplin, MO   

Phone Number: 417.782.2646


Email address: [email protected]   

Hours: Monday-Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Mission: “We are a non-profit committed to the mission of fostering and strengthening literacy skills and coordinating with community resources to provide services, enabling learners to reach their full potential.”   

Joplin History Murder Mystery Fundraiser Event Details: Please join them Saturday, June 3, 6-8:30 p.m. at the Pass Event Center inside Palace Pizza (1208 South Main Street) in downtown Joplin for an evening of dinner, served by Palace Pizza, dancing and murder. Activities include a cash bar, photo booth, money game, dinner, dessert, dancing, party games and, of course, a murder. Semi-formal, formal, Western or appropriate character costumes are required for entry. Seating is limited, so make sure to get your tickets early. Note: All the proceeds from this event go directly to support Joplin NALA’s programming and will help us expand our services to offer Family Literacy programming.   

Murder Mystery Event General Admission: $50