Submitted by Meghan Torjussen on Wed, 05/16/2007 - 10:28pm.

Reading is a skill you may take for granted, but there are people in our area who don't know how. A local literacy organization is dedicated to teaching those who can't read. Cape Fear Literacy Council is funded mostly by donations. It's staffed solely by volunteers who are passionate about the cause. "To hear the statistics about how many people just function at the basic level is just disheartening. To know that you might be able to make a difference in this community is wonderful," Anita Thomas, the Council Chair said. Council leaders say there's an incredible need for good teachers because illiteracy is a problem. "We served about 540 students in 2006 but in this area, there are probably fifty thousand people that could use our help," Yasmin Tomkinson, the literacy co-ordinator said. Cape Fear Literacy Council relies on community members to teach adults to read. The tutors are free, and it's all confidential. The programs are also flexible. "We help people reach their goals whatever they may be," Yasmin Tomkinson said. Cape Fear Literacy Council offers two programs. One is basic literacy and the other is called ESOL. That stands for English Speakers of Other Languages. These volunteers give their time to help people overcome personal obstacles while making a difference. "Knowing that something I do can make someone else's life just a little bit easier, is absolutely the best feeling in the entire world," Ashley Spilker, a volunteer said. There's a long waiting list with people waiting to get help and the program needs more volunteers. For more information call the Cape Fear Literacy Council at (910) 251-0911.

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