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A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Literacy Volunteers' aid boosts reading skills

Spectrum Volume 21 Issue 13 - November 19, 1998

The United States is a land of vast resources; perhaps its greatest resource is its people. And that is the function and purpose of the Combined Virginia Campaign--people helping people, especially people in need.
Take, for example, 33-year-old Judy Vest, who lives in Pilot. Vest is like so many other adults throughout the New River Valley and across the United States. Although she was graduated from high school, she really could not read.
About a year ago, she joined the Literacy Volunteers of America--New River Valley program that provides free, confidential, one-on-one tutoring for local adults who read at or below the fourth-grade level. The Literacy Volunteers of America--NRV is just one of the many agencies that may derive support from contributions to the Virginia Tech CVC.
In just one short year of tutoring, Vest has gained sufficient reading skills to comprehend the DMV driver's manual and, then, to go on and pass the written and road tests. She now has a driver's license for the first time in her life. She is now able to write checks, write letters, and keep an appointment book.
Reading has also allowed Judy to make speeches in public about the work of the LVA--NRV and to read the scriptures during services at her church.
The biggest change Vest has noticed since she began her tutoring is that her confidence level has risen immeasurably. "When I first started this program, I didn't feel good about myself, " she said. "I've come a long way since then." Vest said she has learned that she can do a lot of things she never thought she could do. "I learned there was a lot about myself to feel good about."
Vest said her long-term goal is to improve her literacy skills so that she can become a tutor and help others to learn to read. "I know what it's like when you can't read--I know what it's like to be frustrated, aggravated, upset, ashamed."
This past October, Vest was the recipient of the national Ruth J. Colvin Basic Literacy Student of the Year award at the LVA national meeting in Houston, TX.
There are two more weeks left for this year's CVC at Virginia Tech.