"She found the confidence to approach conversations and productive relationships with professionals around her."

Having raised her children to become successful professionals and parents, Ellen was in a place where it was her time to enjoy things like reading with her grandchildren. Unfortunately, she also found herself hiding the fact that she could only read below a third grade level. She knew she had to do something about it, but was anxious about approaching the Franklin County Literacy Council because she didn’t think she would succeed. After her first attempt to get help, she walked away in frustration and self-doubt. It wasn’t until four years later, even though she was still unsure of herself that she returned. With the help of her tutor, she improved by two educational functional levels in the next two years.

One of the main reasons she wanted to read better was for her family; she wanted to be able to read to her grandchildren and to make her children proud. She realized this accomplishment when she no longer had to hide her literacy problem from her grandchildren.

But Ellen had another reason to improve her literacy; she wanted a job. After six intense weeks in the FCLC “I’ll Succeed” employ ability skills training program, Ellen achieved more goals. For herself, she found a job. As a result, she grew to become “empowered through literacy”, the motto of the Literacy Council. She began using phrases like, “I can” and “I will”, and began a change in her outlook on life as a whole. She entered a smoking cessation class, and gave up smoking, and found the confidence to approach conversations and productive relationships with professionals around her.

The partnership between United Way and Franklin County Literacy Council is monumental in creating opportunity for people in Franklin County. It is a stepping stone to financial stability, but breaks down barriers across education and health issues as well.

What’s next for Ellen? She says she would like to continue literacy training as long as she can. She would like to improve her writing and hopes to write stories; she has plenty of them to tell.