Sometimes we receive gifts that are brightly wrapped which might come with a crowd of people sitting around us at a party and could include a special cake or a Christmas tree. These are tangible gifts that we can hold and that have a certain shape and color. Sometimes we also receive gifts that are not wrapped. Some gifts cannot be held and do not have a shape or color or cake or tree that comes along with them.
For example, let’s consider the gift of reading. It is a gift given to us over time that usually begins at home or in elementary school. It is true that there are people who have taught themselves to read through trial and error but most of us learn with the help of others.
Although it doesn’t come with bows or colorful wrapping paper, reading is an important gift that increases in value over time and provides us with numerous life opportunities as well as a better quality of life. We learn to appreciate this as we mature.
The Town of Westerly is fortunate to have the non-profit agency, Literacy Volunteers of Washington County, which offers various literacy programs at 93 Tower Street, in the old Tower Street Elementary School building. This is the “go to” place if you want to connect yourself, or someone you know, to their services. Their important mission, as stated in their brochure is “Improving lives by providing programs and tutoring that promote adult literacy.”
The Literacy Volunteers organization is an invaluable service to our community that can help open the world of the English language to those who have come from other parts of the world and hope to become more comfortable living in the United States.
Literacy Volunteers use the term “adult basic literacy” and according to Antoinette Lautieri, Executive Director of Literacy Volunteers of Washington County, “Literacy has traditionally meant the ability to read and write. The modern term’s meaning has been expanded to include the ability to use language, numbers, images, computers, and other basic means to understand, communicate, gain useful knowledge, and solve mathematical issues.”
Per Antoinette or Toni as she goes by, their 35 literacy volunteers help with “English for speakers of other languages, citizenship preparation, financial literacy, workforce literacy, and GED or external diploma preparation.” They have an average of 20 students per week between the ages of 20 and 80. (To read a personal testimonial about how the Literacy Volunteers program has helped someone who moved to Westerly from Mexico, please click: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/407fcd_c9823f1506734fd0bbeea50f32a07b2e.pdf.)
In addition to their list of services, Literacy Volunteers puts on a speaker series each year. This year the Joyce S. Ahern Speaker series will host Daniel Silva, a best-selling New York Times author, and his wife Jamie Gangel, a CNN Correspondent on Thursday, July 26, at 6:30 p.m.
Daniel will present his latest suspense, adventure fiction novel entitled, “The Other Woman”, with a presentation and a book signing session at the Watch Hill Chapel. General Admission tickets for the Chapel event are $58. This includes a presentation and book signing. The VIP ticket package is $95 and includes a reception across the street at the beautiful 5-star Ocean House hotel after the presentation in the Chapel.
To purchase tickets, please contact the Literacy Volunteers of Washington County at 401-596-9411 or purchase directly online at https://danielsilva.eventbrite.com.
Supporting the Literacy Volunteers of Washington County programs helps give the gift of reading, as well as a better life, to many people. So, who needs bows and wrapping paper after all? It’s what’s inside that really matters, right? See you at the book signing!