Literacy is the ability to read, write, compute, and use technology at a level that enables an individual to reach his or her full potential as a parent, employee, and community member.
Source: Pro-literacy - Last updated Oct. 13, 2010
The Silent Struggle
He couldn't read. He couldn't write. He couldn't tell anyone. He was ashamed. "I was scared to death," the international hockey celebrity told Parade Magazine. "I thought if anyone found out, I'd be finished."
One in Five
All too many similar personal struggles take place daily throughout our society. Studies reveal that as many as one in five American adults reads below the level needed to earn a living wage. Unable to comprehend a job application or a newspaper ad, they also cannot read to their children, fill out a job application or pass a driver's license exam.
"Adult literacy problems cut through every social problem you can name: corrections, education, poverty [and more]," says Gail Spangenbery, president of the New York Council for Advancement of Adult Literacy. For instance, lack of literacy and time in prison go hand in hand. Some 70% of those incarcerated in state and federal prisons are either functionally illiterate or read below the eighth grade level.
In Silicon Valley, we take pride in our technical innovation and resulting affluence. But even here a lack of functional literacy prevents some 400,000 adults from fully participating as citizens, workers and parents. In California, 24% of adults perform at the lowest levels of literacy. Daily life -- including the simplest tasks others perform routinely -- is a daily struggle.
Many people who live with low-literacy skills are challenged in finding livable wage employment opportunities. In fact, lack of literacy contributes nationally to over $142 billion dollars a year in health care costs. American business loses an estimated $60 billion in productivity each year due to worker deficiency in fundamental reading, writing, and math skills.
Breaking the Silence
Vision Literacy exists solely to replace this struggle with an enduring ability to cope with the unknown. Our programs offer an opportunity to build reading, writing and leadership skills to those who were once painfully silenced. Developing these skills sets them on a confident path to fulfilling their personal dreams and aspirations.