The Ability to Read

Thursday, 16 September 2010
How often do you read? We read and take the ability for granted. Street signs, job applications, recipes... Imagine if you couldn't even watch a movie with subtitles. And how do you tell people? It's pretty embarrassing.

There's a group in Knoxville called Friends of Literacy and I joined the board this year after being nominated by a friend. This was a great match-up because as you know if you are a long-time reader, I've been trying to commit my extra time to a program I'm passionate about. 

Last night, I went to a GED class in Fountain City. It is free, paid for by a local church but there are at least 4 other sites in Knoxville where adults can take GED classes for free. They don't have to pay for books, classroom materials or teachers. The teachers and tutors volunteer their time and Friends of Literacy raises the money and organizes the program.

Students work as fast and as hard as they can in order to test and earn their GED. Tutors guide them in the process, teach them skills they may not know and even help them learn how to read by starting with the alphabet if needed.

It costs $45 for an adult to take the GED (the testing sites are run by county government). With a GED, adults can get a job and can make more money to feed their families. Without it, the circle of poverty continues. If you'd like to get involved with a great organization, we need tutors and money for the tests and supplies.  

Why would you help? How about this - the student who won the essay contest last year essentially said since learning to read, she doesn't have to sleep with her shoes on. Now she is in a better place and doesn't fear for her life constantly. Reading = safety, knowledge, opportunity and hope.

Our special fundraiser, Writer's Hall of Fame is next week, September 23. You can still buy a ticket ($100) and sit by me! 

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