by Literacy Volunteers and Advocates on 05/22/14
Buckle your seat belts and prepare to embark on a journey. Executive Director Rita Daniels announced at the Learner-Tutor Recognition Ceremony on Tuesday night that LVA's 14th Annual Write From The Heart is now available for purchase.
Ms. Daniels noted that this year's theme is "Journey to Literacy." LVA learners wrote about how they have benefitted from the instruction that LVA and other literacy providers offer.
Ms. Daniels expressed particular pride in the handsome cover designed by freelance artist Alimayu Oding. Mr. Oding's cover makes clear where LVA learners are heading. Highway signs proclaim "opportunity" and "winners." Studying at LVA means more than just attending classes but embarking upon a journey toward greater self-awareness and understanding of the world and how it works.
Reading the words of the LVA learners it becomes clear how very appreciative many are for the educational skills that many DC residents take for granted. Skills that are due in large part to to being raised in families with access to quality schools and instruction.
Martha Lee Phillips, a learner with LVA, tells a story that is shared by all too many DC residents in which she expresses the difficulty she experienced with her schoolwork and the lack of help she received from parents who could not read. "I dropped out of school," she writes. Now, thanks to patient and persistent instructors, Ms. Phillips is hopeful that she will soon be able to master filling out job applications and the forms that she must complete at her doctor's office.
The people who really need to know what learners such as Ms. Phillips are experiencing sit on the ANCs, the city council, and, perhaps, next year, even in the mayor's office. They determine whether adult literacy organizations should receive the funding that is vital to help ensure that LVA and other organizations can continue to help people like Ms. Phillips. They are journalists with large newspapers, TV and radio stations that cover this city and its government. They determine whether many DCers believe that all the city's residents are doing fine or that there are people struggling to do better for themselves and their families.
Do learners like Ms. Phillips a favor. Purchase a copy of Write From The Heart. It only costs five dollars and can be purchased from the LVA office. Read it, enjoy it. Pass it on to a city official, a member of the news media, or a member of the school board. Let them know that many Washingtonians lack basic literacy skills and that many are striving to overcome this and hope to do better in life.
When LVA learner Anthony Johnson, author of The Dum One, co-written with Ms. Beverly Green, spoke at the recognition ceremony about his own "Journey to Literacy," he noted that he had been raised believing he was "dumb" because he could not read or write. The illiteracy of his mother was passed on to him.
Thanks to help from mentors and LVA, Mr. Johnson is a much better reader and writer and vows that the literacy endemic in his family has reached an end.
It is a goal that the whole city of Washington should embrace. And if enough people speak up then DC will have to realize that no matter how high the educational level of some DC residents, many residents have yet to fully discover the promise of American life because they lack the basic literacy skills that are essential in our city.
Its' not just the learners who need to have this city journey to greater literacy.