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 2017, volunteers provided over 7,790 hours of service, which is an estimated value of $188,050.
The annual Literacy Legacy Volunteer Recognition and Appreciation Dinner honors three longtime literacy advocates and their families by presenting the following memorial awards: Betty Andersen Memorial Outstanding Tutor awards, “Spirit of Barbara Goodlett” award, and “Shirley Jackson Silent Service” award.
The recipients of this year's Betty Andersen Memorial Outstanding Tutor awards are Charlotte Dade and Joe Jernigan. The prestigious award is presented to two volunteers in memory of longtime Literacy Council supporter, volunteer tutor and past president Betty Andersen.
Dade has been an adult tutor since 2013. She has provided over 103 tutoring hours working with her student to improve his literacy and life skills. Her student improved his reading level from fifth to eighth grade. Her student reports that he has gained self-confidence and is becoming more independent is his daily living. Her student states that Dade “is one of the best people I have in my life and I am blessed to have someone who cares and supports my dreams. She is very special to me.”
Jernigan has been an adult tutor since 2015. He has provided over 111 tutoring hours working with his student to improve his literacy skills and job skills. His student reports that he has earned a new career with better wages and is on the pathway of economic self-sufficiency. His student states that he couldn’t “thank Jernigan enough for his patience, time and for never giving up on me. My classes at Literacy Council was great for me to learn new things in life and I changed my life for the better.”
The “Spirit of Barbara Goodlett” award is also presented at the dinner. 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 Pierre and Linda LeMaster and Beth Jones are the recipients of this year's “Spirit of Barbara Goodlett” award. The LeMasters have supported the Literacy Council since 2011. Pierre LeMaster also serves as a volunteer in both the adult and children’s programs for the Literacy Council. Jones has served on the Board of Directors for 10 years, currently as treasurer and also served as past president. Beth Jones and her husband Bob Jones, are our go-to ‘Mr. and Mrs. Fix-It’ and are instrumental in helping to maintain and provide a safe learning facility.
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 Peggy Smith. Smith has volunteered at the Literacy Council since 2013 and has provided over 250 tutoring hours. Smith led her student to accomplish many goals throughout the past five years. Her student increased civic and community participation by attending the Tennessee gubernatorial debate. When her student had questions regarding how the city government operated, Smith facilitated an hour meeting with Kingsport’s vice-mayor, Mike McIntire, who was very kind, patient and hospitable. Her student reports that she is more engaged in her children’s education and she loves being able to visit the library with her children to find new and interesting books to read. Smith embodies a servant’s heart in many ways. She is caring, kind, patient and understanding. She goes above and beyond as a tutor. Her student states that Smith and Literacy Council has “built my self-confidence and changed my life. I am now independent and take care of myself and my family.”
The Literacy Council of Kingsport, a member agency of the United Way of Greater Kingsport and an affiliate of ProLiteracy, is a 501(c)(3) organization providing 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 www.literacycouncilofkingsport.org.