Helping to cure illiteracy

May 6, 2009 5:20:53 PM PDT
Millions of New Yorkers are leading double lives. They have a secret they're too embarrassed to admit.But there is a group that's helping change that.

The group has been around for 35 years, teaching about 2,000 New Yorkers how to read every year. And the woman you're about to meet shows that it's never too late to learn.

Emma Davis is a bit of a wordsmith. It's pretty amazing, considering her longtime secret.

"I knew I had an issue with reading, but I would not admit that I had an issue with reading," she said.

Emma was illiterate.

"I can't say it was the school system," she said. "Emma failed Emma."

But it took Emma a long time to do something about it. And when she did, she turned to Literacy Partners, a non-profit that teaches New York adults to read.

It's where Emma now works as well, often tutoring and always inspiring. She can tell her story how she managed to hold down jobs at a college, at a business school, even though she was illiterate. But she knew it was time to change.

"After a while, you get tired of bluffing your way here and bluffing your way there," she said.

And perhaps in a sign of the times, more and more people are coming to Literacy Partners to gain the skills they need to work.

With enough classes, these adult go on to take the GED. Emma's gone well beyond that.

Emma celebrates her 54th birthday next month. She's been reading for six years now.

If you or someone you know could benefit from this program, visit LiteracyPartners.org.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS

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