Friends of Literacy
Together we are growing a literacy rich community.
Memberships are good for one year, beginning when the membership is purchased and lasting 12 consecutive months.
Your contribution provides teaching material, volunteer and staff training, financial workshops, technology and other learning resources and support to adult learners in your community.
Individual Friend ............................................................... $10 - $49
Family Friend .......................................................................... $50 - $99
Contributing Friend ...................................................... $100 - $499
Supporting Friend ........................................................... $500 - $999
Sustaining Friend .............................................................. $1,000 Plus
As I stared at the taillights of the angry woman who came through my drive through window at Hardees, I thought to myself, “What am I doing?” I was drifting through life, not getting anywhere. College didn’t work for me. My GPA was a GPAin’t, but staring at those taillights, a light came on for me.
It’s one thing to have an epiphany about where you want to go in life. It’s another thing completely to pull yourself out of the rut you are stuck in.
This is the story of Veta, a young mother of three living in public housing looking for a way to get ahead in life, and a few of the guiding lights on her journey to the top. Veta was determined to do whatever it took to get out of public housing, obtain her college degree, and be qualified for a professional job. Her first barrier was transportation, but her brother provided her a no-nonsense car that kept her going to and from college. Her advisor at Wayne Community College asked her, “What are you going to do when you finish here?” Like many of us, Veta didn’t know until a lady she went to church with suggested that she would make a good social worker, and another light came on. With this prompting, she transferred to ECU focused on a career path in social work and obtained her bachelors and eventually her master’s degree.
Although she didn’t believe it at first, Veta’s Mom was right when she declared that her first job would be with the Department of Social Services (DSS). Three months after graduation, Veta was hired with the Work First program at DSS. Fresh out of college, eager to meet people where they really were and help them, Veta met a young, traumatized teenage girl in Child Protective Services. Veta described this encounter as a light going off again, and she was drawn to help and protect this child.
Veta has now worked in Child Protective Services (CPS) for 25 years helping prevent further harm to many, many young children just like that young teenage girl.
Veta carries her passion of helping others beyond her work at CPS. She currently serves on the Board of Directors at Literacy Connections. She has also served as a tutor for an adult who was learning to read the Bible. She has seen so many people in her professional career and in her volunteer work at Literacy Connections who are in the same situation she was in many years ago when she found herself asking, “What am I doing?”
Charlie C. Ivey III Dedication
She now shares her light to encourage others and provides resources to help them overcome their barriers.
Life moves quickly, and we don't often realize that small brushes with others have lasting impact.
A recent visit with Joshua really brought that home. He was the first WIOA intern placed at Literacy Connections to gain work experience and work on his GED five years ago. WIOA is a comprehensive youth employment program that supports youth ages 16 – 24 who are facing barriers to education, training, and employment. When we met Joshua, he was in a stable situation and was working on his educational and career goals. However, Joshua’s childhood had many hardships with frequent moves, surrounded by abuse and addiction in his home. He grew up quickly, courageously taking on a parental role in the care of his younger brother as they embarked on a journey to start a new life. In his own words, Joshua shares the impact that his internship at Literacy Connections had on his professional and educational future.
“Literacy Connections of Wayne County is where I attribute the start of much of my personal growth. From the people that work there, to the atmosphere of learning that's encouraged there, it is one of the most comforting and inspiring places I have ever had the honor of being a part of. I may have moved to continue both my higher education and career, but I continue to return for check ins and support often enough that I feel like I never really left.
“For a more concrete example, I was encouraged to join the board meetings at Literacy Connections to learn from the professionalism exuded there and to take minutes for the experience. Later, I would join Leadership Wayne County through Literacy Connections to further both that fostered professionalism and learn many skills that would aid me in my career. After leaving Literacy Connections, I've found that I search for these communities that continue to engage me on this level and have since joined further professional communities such as the Dean's Leadership Academy at East Carolina University.
“With the skills I gathered through these programs I've been able to take on experiences that I would have felt anxious to engage in without. Last year my employer requested that someone speak in and guide a large assembly of doctors at ECU Health Medical Center. My peers backed out, but I found myself drawn to this opportunity. It was intimidating, but I felt reinforced through these experiences and found that during it I truly enjoyed being a part of it.
“When my employer asked if I could take minutes during a large meeting I knew it was something I had done plenty of times before and didn't shy away. When asked if I could present a topic to our corporate team I was excited at the idea. When I need to advocate for myself or my patients I feel competent and invigorated. All of these skills and many others I know began with Literacy Connections.
“While this seems like the perfect place to end this short narrative, I feel like I have completely glossed over the most vital skill fostered there: Empathy. At Literacy Connections every person that walked through the doors seeking help had a story so rich in unique events and experiences that it showed me how important it is to meet each person where they are. This has helped me in my career more than any other skill. It has also encouraged me to continue to seek ways I can aid people that need it the most. On the weekends, I dedicate my time to a needle exchange program I searched out in order to continue being a positive force.
“I know given enough time I could point out the connections between all of my biggest successes and the start of it at Literacy Connections. I am incredibly grateful to each and every person that is a part of that program; from the admin, to the educators and volunteers, to each unique person that comes in brave enough to admit they need the help.”
Today, Joshua continues to grow as a strong, confident, and secure young man. He has learned to take advantage of opportunities and build relationships with mentors along the way. We are incredibly proud that Joshua obtained his GED, his Associate degree, and his Bachelor degree! He is now working on his Master degree while working and advising in his career field.
Thank you for stopping by!