An Unexpected Encounter

May 1, 2014 at 3:12 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

As an office support volunteer, I regularly see the front-end mission of the Council, but rarely do I get a glimpse of the actual results of everyone’s efforts. This changed just the other day, when I had the good fortune to meet a former Basic Adult Literacy student who exemplifies the far-reaching results of the LCNV student experience.

I was working at the circulation desk of one of the local public libraries, when a man walked up and set two books on the counter. With a braid in his long white beard, tattoos and thick silver rings decorating his hands and fingers, and wearing denim overalls and a wide brimmed hat, he was pretty distinctive.  He wanted to renew the two books that his wife had checked out, but before I could do anything, he immediately launched into a story about how he and his wife used to meet one another in the library before they were married. Without pause, he then told me that he didn’t used to know how to read, but had learned how at the Literacy Council—and then went on to earn his high school equivalent degree!

Bobby Joe Small ended up opening his own library account that day, and I checked those two books out on his card. As he left, we wished one another a good afternoon, and he held out a fist. I was tickled by his invitation for a parting fist bump, and hope that some of my respect and admiration for his achievements (and general bonhomie) transferred to him on that day. And those two books? They were both by Louise Erdrich—what a leap, from illiteracy to reading award-winning American literature!

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-Sheila Frost, LCNV Volunteer

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042

1 Comment

  1. What a wonderful encounter highlighting such a high achieving student. He certainly has come far! I lovingly struggled reading Louise Erdrich in graduate school; some of the hardest reading I’ve done.

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