Give a Man a Fish, Feed Him For a Day
Teach a Man to Fish, Feed Him For Life
Most of us have something that they are passionate about outside of the professional world. Mine happens to be Adult Literacy. Why? The 'Teach a Man to Fish, Feed Him for Life' statement sums it up pretty well. If we can give an individual the tools to teach themselves whatever they need or want to know then they can take care of themselves and literacy is the most important of all the tools for this purpose.
Low literacy skill in the adult population is a bigger problem than you might think.
* Nationwide 1 in 5 adults can not read above an 8th grade level - the level considered necessary to merely survive on your own in the world today.
* Low literacy is estimated to add over $73 billion to our annual medical costs in the form of longer hospital stays, emergency room visits, increased doctor visits, and increased medication.
* 7 out of 10 prisoners do not have reading levels we would consider sufficient to take care of themselves once they are released undoubtedly affecting the rate of recidivism and their incarceration in the first place.
* An Adult Without a High School Diploma Earns 42% Less Than an Adult With a High School Diploma.
* High School Dropouts Have an Unemployment Rate 4 Times Greater Than That of High School Graduates.
* 50% of the chronically unemployed are not functionally literate.
I have had the honor and the pleasure of working with three great organizations trying to deal with this problem: ProLiteracy, Literacy Volunteers of Massachusetts and Vision Literacy. I have served on the Board of all three organizations and still serve on the Vision Literacy and ProLiteracy Boards.