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Meeting a Literacy Hero

Founder of Literacy Volunteers of America Ruth Colvin poses with ReadWest Executive Director Muncie Hansen.
Founder of Literacy Volunteers of American Ruth Colvin poses with Executive Director Muncie Hansen at the ProLiteracy Conference.

Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with a living literacy legend. While at the ProLiteracy Conference on Adult Education in San Diego, I was amazed to see Ruth Colvin walk out of the ballroom along beside me. When she saw “Literacy Volunteers” on the logo of my ReadWest shirt, she struck up a conversation with me. I was star-struck.

You see, Ruth is the founder of Literacy Volunteers of America, which later became ProLiteracy. She spent her entire life working to address the issue of adult literacy. Her efforts on behalf of adult literacy earned her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006, presented by President George W. Bush. It’s also remarkable that Ruth Colvin is 102 years old.

“I’m so proud of you young women taking up the cause of adult literacy. I am glad this important work is in such capable hands,” she said.

But Ruth is not slowing down. She told me she had some more literacy conferences to attend this fall, and her memoirs will come out shortly.

“People think they should retire at age 65. But you have all this great knowledge; you should use it to do something worthwhile.”

What an inspiration. What a pleasure to be called a ‘young’ woman by my literacy hero. I rededicate my next few decades to the worthwhile cause of adult literacy in the U.S. Want to join me? Click this link to find out how and then select Get Involved!

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