Kiwanis International focuses on serving children of the world with projects that support children in a manner that will positively impact their lives. The Kiwanis Club of Kingsport was chartered in 1924 and celebrates over 90 years of service in Kingsport. In 2001, the Kiwanis Club of Kingsport began the Kiwanis Reading Program to encourage reading in several elementary schools in the Kingsport City School system.
The single greatest indicator of a child’s future success is the literacy level of the parents. More than 36 million American adults struggle to read, write, do math, and use technology above a third grade level. According to ProLiteracy, children of parents with low literacy skills have a 72 percent chance of being at the lowest reading level themselves.
The Literacy Council of Kingsport is honored to recognize volunteers whose commitment to literacy is invaluable. In 2016, volunteers provided over 7,561 hours of service - an estimated value of $182,523.
The annual Literacy Legacy Volunteer Recognition and Appreciation Dinner honors three longtime literacy advocates and their families with the following memorial awards: the Betty Andersen Memorial Outstanding Tutor awards, the “Spirit of Barbara Goodlett” award, and the “Shirley Jackson Silent Service” award.
The recipients of the Betty Andersen Memorial Outstanding Tutor awards this year are Sue Cassidy and Judy Fischer. The prestigious award is presented to two volunteers in memory of longtime Literacy Council supporter, volunteer tutor and past president Betty Andersen.
Cassidy has been an adult tutor since 2014. She has provided over 140 hours of tutoring with her student. Her student reports that she feels more confident in her skills as a parent and community member, and she is grateful to have a nice tutor who has helped her so much.
Fischer has been a children’s tutor since 2016. She has tutored more than 84 children at Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kingsport. Fischer has provided over 91 hours of tutoring in the 2016-2017 school year. The teacher expressed a great appreciation for her diligent work to help children read at or above grade level.
The “Spirit of Barbara Goodlett” award was also presented to two recipients. Goodlett, who passed away in 2013, served Kingsport as a longtime educator, school board member, author and community ambassador as well as past president of the Literacy Council.
Literacy Council supporters Joseph and Elaine Zoeller and Frank Johnstone received the “Spirit of Barbara Goodlett” award. The Zoellers have supported the Literacy Council since 2004. Johnstone has served on the Board of Directors for 10 years, and is a key component in the strategic plan of the Literacy Council, which lead to the renovation and expansion of the current learning center and new collective learning space.
The Literacy Council also remembered a longtime literacy advocate and beloved supporter who passed away in late 2015. The “Shirley Jackson Silent Service” award was created to honor Jackson and the servant’s heart she displayed throughout her life. The award was presented to Lois Sill.
Sill has volunteered at the Literacy Council since 2007. She has provided more than 7,852 hours of tutoring to 335 children and more than 2,045 hours as an office volunteer. Sill impacts the lives of those she has served and those she has served with, and her commitment is invaluable to staff, board members, tutors and students.
The Literacy Council of Kingsport, a 501(c)(3) organization, is a member agency of the United Way of Greater Kingsport and an affiliate of ProLiteracy. It provides tutoring for adults and qualified children to improve their literacy skills as well as achieve their individual goals and to be an advocate for literacy in the community. To learn more, call (423) 392-4643 or visit literacycouncilofkingsport.org.
Community contributor Megan Miller is the executive director of Literacy Council of Kingsport.