Latoya and her tutor, Linda  

Jo Lord, owner of iwritewords
“Reading and writing have been a central and cherished part of my life since I can remember. In fact, I’ve had the great good fortune to make my entire career as a writer. Over the years, I’ve felt compelled to help bring the joy of reading to those who haven’t yet learned and volunteered for a time doing just that. (Resolution for 2019: Get back to it!) Based on my lifetime love for reading and the life opportunities that literacy brings, the work of The READ Center here in Richmond is close to my heart.”

Latoya wanted to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), which meant she’d have to go back to school and pass an exam. That’s challenging for anyone, but for Latoya, that was an almost insurmountable obstacle because of her reading level.

The READ Center, which helps adults with low literacy develop basic reading, communication, math and digital skills, matched the aspiring CNA with a tutor who is a retired Navy nurse. After two years of hard work, Latoya graduated from the Virginia School for Nurses Aides with an “A” average and then went on to pass her Virginia State Board of Nursing exam with flying colors. Latoya now has a job as a CNA doing what she loves—helping patients.

More than 72,000 adults in the metro Richmond area lack basic literacy skills. Many come to the READ Center with goals like Latoya’s, such as attaining a GED, reading medical information, helping their children with homework or reading the Bible. Through classroom instruction and one-to-one tutoring, the nonprofit helps these adults achieve their personal goals and their full potential as employees, parents and community members.

“When I was younger, I had a hard time in school trying to learn,” says William, another READ Center student. “Now I have a chance to learn. I am back in school and now I have FUN learning. I am proud to be able to read and I want to thank all of my teachers and tutors for their help.”

Currently there are 15 students waiting for one-to-one tutors. Help them develop the skills they need to reach their goals by volunteering or donating to The READ Center today!