We've spent the last eight weeks taking a look at organizations through the eyes of their volunteers, staff, and clients. Each and every story has been a joy but also somewhat of a struggle to tell. Doing justice to the personality and passion of each person was a challenge and an investment, but that was the way we wanted our listeners to see these organizations — not through a mission statement or a standard commercial, but rather through an individual's narrative. There are many reasons Literacy Services of Wisconsin made sense as our final organization. For one, as I mentioned in our first post on Joanne and Linda, their work ties together a number of the volunteering/mentoring themes we've seen develop over the span of the campaign. Additionally, they are a perfect bridge to our Meet The Need campaign, where we highlight 50 non-profit organizations serving the needs of our community in 50 days. Oftentimes, when we think of "basic needs," three things come to mind: food, shelter, clothing. However, when we think about how deficiencies in basic needs arise, we're immediately led to a whole network of other needs: education, employment, housing, community, and of course, literacy. Literacy Services gives adults a basic building block that they need to function productively in our society. Whether it be their ABE (Adult Basic Education), ESL (English as a Second Language), or GED (General Education Degree) program, the work Literacy Services does has a massive impact in the lives of their students.
][/caption] In our first piece of extra audio, Joanne discusses how difficult life was before learning to read. Before you listen, take a moment and imagine the difficulties you'd face in life if you were not literate:
The second piece of audio is also from my interview with Joanne and her tutor Linda. In my opinion, this piece of audio was one perhaps the most surprising of the entire campaign — Linda talks about Joanne voting in her first election for Barack Obama. Maybe it's just me, but the story doesn't quite go in the direction I expected it to:
This final piece of audio is taken from an interview I was unfortunately not able to get to last week. Melvin is a GED student who's been coming to Literacy Services on and off for the past few years. Here, we get a feeling of his commitment to being a student and just how important a GED is to him: