Since 1969, Literacy Volunteers has offered no-cost tutoring to adults in need of basic education, including reading, writing, and English speaking skills. The Literacy Volunteers’ support system is what makes us unique. This life-changing process starts by empowering adults through improved reading and English language skills that ultimately enhance their life skills in the areas of work, family, health, and community.
Steve knows firsthand that better literacy means better living. We met Steve in 2004. A self-described “Army Brat,” Steve moved around a lot as a child and didn’t keep up academically with each move. Despite a high school diploma, he had a 5th grade reading level and worked four “dead-end” jobs that prevented him from spending time with his family.
Over time and with the help from various tutor/mentors, Steve increased his reading ability to a 12th grade level and gained the confidence and skills to apply for better paying jobs, which he got. Different jobs meant fewer of them and more time at home. With that extra time, he was able to reinforce school with his children by reading to them, attending school activities, and going to library. A better paying job also allowed him to purchase their family’s first home, a tremendous source of pride for Steve. Better reading skills allowed him to navigate difficult systems, like formalizing a legal adoption of his wife’s oldest son whom Steve had raised.
Steve remains a student with Literacy Volunteers after all these years. His goals have evolved to include gaining computer literacy skills, reading the bible so he could be more active in his church community, and helping support his youngest child’s difficulties with reading.
Steve also believes in giving back to the organization that helped him so much. Steve actively serves as an ambassador for Literacy Volunteers. He appears in commercials, media interviews, appeals, serves on the board of directors, and dons branded clothing and gear that says, “Ask me about Literacy Volunteers.” Still, Steve is humble: “There’s a need for it and this is one way that I can give back, so I do.”