Success Comes in a CAN, Not a Can’t
Jeanette Hrovatich, executive director for Read for Literacy, and Diana Bush, senior director of operations for Read for Literacy, are two “CANdo” women who are opening minds and fighting illiteracy one book at a time. Hrovatich, who has a degree in education, knows first-hand the importance of tackling illiteracy after spending a lifetime in the field of education. Bush has been with the organization for 26 years and is dedicated to the cause. “The numbers are staggering here in Lucas County for those who do not have the power of words,” states Bush. (Nearly 26% of third graders in Lucas County are not proficient in reading, and more than 39,000 adults are reading below the fourth-grade level.) “You can gaze at the statistics and feel like throwing in the towel or ask yourself, how can I make a difference.” The two women engage and motivate donors, volunteers and students—over 2,900 of them—to keep moving toward a community of readers. Hrovatich believes the perfect gift this holiday season is to give the gift of words; a present that will last a lifetime. “In the ‘I Can Learn to Read’ program, volunteers are trained for roughly three hours,” she explains. “Volunteers then commit to one to two hours a week, October through May.” Traveling Boomers can be assured that the duo understands the need for volunteers to take time off. “We know people have commitments, but we also know that taking the time to read with one of our students (ages 3-85) is one of the most rewarding things you will ever experience,” says Bush. “Seeing the smiling faces of children and adults after they accomplished something they never imagined they could, reinforces my belief that we CAN win the war on literacy,” reports Hrovatich.
Read for Literacy has been providing literacy outreach for close to three decades. “Adult Basic Education,” “English Language Learners,” “Creating Young Readers,” “Claire’s Day” and “Creating Family Readers” are their signature service programs. Read for Literacy also provides resources, books, activities and supplies for families in our community living below the poverty level. “Yes, the numbers are overwhelming but we are challenged by them,” states Bush. “Now is the time to give people the tools to succeed and move from ‘I can’t’to ‘I CAN!’”