This blog was submitted to us by the wonderful staff at Learn to Read Jacksonville.
The balloons and bows decorating the auditorium were a sign that this was a special occasion. For the students and volunteer tutors of Learn to Read Jacksonville attending the annual Celebration of Success, they knew part of it was a celebration of their accomplishments. But they also knew there was more to it than that. This year there was added cause for celebration as Learn to Read celebrated 50 years of improving adult literacy throughout Northeast Florida. As Board Vice President Stephen Reinel said, “We are celebrating you and 50 years of changing the lives of tens of thousands of local residents one word at a time.”
In addition to the awards and recognition for the students and volunteers, there were pictures and memorabilia on display going all the way back to 1969.
Over 100 students, volunteers, family members, staff, community partners, and board members attended. The evening included remarks from local education and literacy advocates including Dale Moe, a retired Navy Veteran, who said to the students specifically, “Each one of you are an inspiration to your sphere of influence. You have demonstrated the personal drive and initiative to change your human condition for the better. Your community now sees you as an inspiration of hope.”
Students, volunteers, and their families captured the special occasion with photos. The annual event celebrates a year of hard work and accomplishment. One of our students, Mildred, who has made great progress since summer 2018 explained, “I was looking for a place to learn and to grow and to pursue my dreams. I can read better and understand what I read, as well as, solve math problems I couldn’t do before. It takes hard work and motivation on my part, and Learn to Read provides the teachers, classes, and kindness to help people at no cost. I am so grateful and thankful for Learn to Read.”
Mildred, Learn to Read Jacksonville adult literacy student
Rufus, Learn to Read Jacksonville adult literacy student, and Kim, his tutor
Marcus Haile, LTR’s executive director, reviewed the organization’s accomplishments for the year. Marcus shared the outcomes of the year, including serving a record number of over 600 students. He encouraged the students by saying, “We are all in your corner and here for you whenever you need us.”
Judy Bradshaw, former LTR executive director, and Ken Horton, a long-time teacher and adult education volunteer, were honored with a framed photo collage of special LTR memories for their retirements.
From LTR’s inception in 1969, the program was a grassroots movement of volunteers who sensitively responded to the needs of the community. Learn to Read (LTR) Jacksonville is a 501(C)3 organization dedicated to improving adult literacy in Jacksonville. Learn to Read Jacksonville serves adults 16 years of age or older in Northeast Florida who want to improve reading and math skills. The organization has accreditation from ProLiteracy and memberships with the Literacy Council of Jacksonville, the Florida Literacy Coalition, the Jacksonville Community Council, Inc., the Nonprofit Center, and others. Through community support, Learn to Read provides literacy instruction, free of charge, to over 500 students each year.
If you would like more information about Learn to Read Jacksonville, please visit its website at http://www.learntoreadjax.org/.