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Often I forget just how fortunate I am. In my everyday life I take for granted the simple fact that I can read, and I can perform what experts may call “complex and challenging literacy activities.” Not only is reading an integral part of my profession, but I also enjoy it as an activity for personal growth. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for all individuals across our country. Literacy statistics in the U.S. are dismal. Fact number one from a blog post entitled 11 Facts about Literacy in America: “An estimated 30 million Americans over 16 years old cannot perform simple and everyday literacy activities.” In Harris County, the county that encompasses the Houston metropolitan area, the fifth largest metropolitan area in the U.S., 1 in 5 adults lacks basic literacy skills. That simply breaks my heart, and I feel a personal responsibility to change that.

1 in 5 Harris County residents lacks basic literacy skills

Image courtesy of Houston Center for Literacy

I know that if I am seeking knowledge or a solution, often I can find the information I need contained within the pages of a book. I know that stories have the power to transport me to new worlds beyond my own imagination into the inner workings of another’s. I believe that reading and literacy help to elevate societies. I believe that knowledge is truly power, and when one has the ability to obtain and absorb knowledge, he or she has the ability to accomplish anything. These are all statements consistent with the Kbuuk manifesto, which is another reason I chose to work for this company.

For the past few years I’ve begun the year with a few simple long-standing resolutions: drink more water, try to exercise every day, and do more volunteer work. So far I’ve done well enough with the water and the exercise, but I’ve been seriously slacking in my volunteering resolution. This year I’m getting a head start. After reading a post from one of our contributors in Indianapolis about Indy Reads a few months back, I knew what I had to do. I knew that volunteering for literacy would be the perfect avenue where I could combine my passion for literature and the written word, and my desire to help others. I’ve submitted my application Houston Center for Literacy, and there is an orientation in January to get acquainted with the program. Like I mentioned in my email to the volunteer director, I hope I make it through the vetting process, but in 2013 I want as many people as I can possibly help to be able to experience the joy and opportunity that the gift of literacy has brought to my own life.

Happy reading and writing, and please don’t forget to share the gift of literacy with others.

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