MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A local organization working to improve adult literacy needs some serious help.
After hitting a record low number of volunteers, ABC24 spoke with Literacy Mid-South about how their work is aiming to break generational cycles.
Literacy Mid-South takes one-on-one teaching to the next level, teaching learners of all ages new English skills, how to read and how to write.
“It’s never too late to do it, you know. I mean we have a lady in the program right now who’s 86 and she started when she was 82,” Lee Chase of Literacy Mid-South said.
Now, they’re struggling to find volunteers to keep up with the number of learners.
“We’ve still had a heavy barrier when it comes to finding and recruiting volunteers,” Chase said.
Especially as some learners, like Isata Bah, learn both a new language and how to read and write.
“Mid-south Literacy, they did a lot of help for me, because before I didn’t know like the ABC’s," Bah said. "Now I know how to read. I know how to write. They even helped me get my citizenship.”
A big push for many of the programs for new learners to take charge of their reading level has been the ability to read to their children.
“A lot of adults who did not gain those reading skills in school now are raising children of their own, and they don’t want to see that continue. So they’ll actually come in and say I want to be able to read to my child. I want to be able to help my child with their homework. So you see a dedication to that," said Chase.
“Like right now if I’m looking for a job I can do my application, like when I went to the hospital I can fill out the form, and my kid if they give him homework I can help him a little bit. They can teach you how to read and write and speak English," said Bah.
Lee and Bah are hopeful their search for volunteers will bring new minds to help end the cycle of low literacy rates in the Mid-South.