People of Literacy Mid-South: Seeding Success

People of Literacy Mid-South is a column that takes a close look at the folks that make our organization tick. But today, we’re not looking at a person. Instead, we’re discussing an organization whose support and guidance is valuable to Literacy Mid-South.

seeding success

Seeding Success is not an organization that directly serves individuals. Instead, Seeding Success focuses on helping organizations be more effective in serving their communities. Seeding Success works to create collaborative partnerships, called Collaborative Action Networks (CANs for short) that focus on a particular service area. In their own words:

The Seeding Success Partnership collaborates to ensure every child graduates high school prepared for college, career and success in life.

Seeding Success pulls together K-12 institutions, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and countless other types of organizations to work pursuing equitable educational outcomes for children. The organizations that Seeding Success organizes into CANs agree to focus on a set of goals that are developed beneath the umbrella of Seeding Success’ larger organizational goals:

  • GOAL 1: Every child is prepared for success in school;
  • GOAL 2: Every student is successful in school and graduates prepared for college, career, and success in life;
  • GOAL 3: Every youth who is not in school reconnects to education, training, or employment opportunities;
  • GOAL 4: Every young adult has access to a post-secondary opportunity or career.

These goals are put into practice by arranging the CANs to focus on one of eight academic outcomes. The outcomes that Seeding Success and their organizational CANs are attempting to influence are: Kindergarten Readiness, Third Grade Reading Proficiency, Middle School Math Proficiency, College and Career Readiness, High School Graduation rates, Access to Post Secondary opportunities and attainment of success at those Post Secondary opportunities, and a focus on providing educational and career opportunities to Opportunity Youth. Each CAN works together to provide research informed strategies to impact these areas and ensure that children and young adults will lead successful lives.

education studyingLiteracy Mid-South has a presence in two of those CANs. We are the convener of the Third Grade Reading Proficiency CAN, and we provide space and support to organizations who collaborate to improve the rates of reading proficiency at grade 3 for every Shelby County child. The CAN focuses on three areas that impact reading proficiency for grade 3 students: attendance, literacy, and psychological barriers. The CAN has made vision screenings available for hundreds of grade 3 students through a partnership with the Southern College of Optometry, as well as provided books and literacy instruction to thousands of students through Literacy Mid-South’s Summer Reading Program.

Literacy Mid-South’s Adult Learning Program is involved in the Opportunity Youth CAN, a CAN dedicated to connecting roughly 40,000 local young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 who are not connected to education or employment programs with gainful employment and education opportunities. The Workforce Investment Network is the convener of this CAN, and it includes partnerships with the Memphis Goodwill Excel Center, ResCare, and the Tennessee Department of Corrections. The CAN has gathered focus group data from former Opportunity Youth and is now developing a report based on the findings.

Seeding Success connects organizations that work in similar impact areas with each other and allows them to exponentially increase their reach and effectiveness. Without Seeding Success’ unique approach to collaboration, many organizations who are working to make Memphis a better place would be shouldering their burdens alone.

Literacy Mid-South provides literacy resources to Mid-South learners of all ages and backgrounds. Our vision is 100% literacy in the Mid-South. Visit our website to learn more about our programs and mission.

 

People of Literacy Mid-South: Meet Lee

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People of Literacy Mid-South is a column that takes a close look at the folks that make our organization tick.

This week we’re talking to Lee Chase IV, Special Projects Coordinator for Literacy Mid-South. Lee has been a volunteer tutor since 2012, and is also a freelance writer and filmmaker. Before joining Literacy Mid-South, Lee was an Account Manager for Mimeo.com, an online printing company. He also has experience writing and developing corporate training courses for adult learners. Lee graduated from Christian Brothers University with a BA in English. Lee is a certified ESL trainer by ProLiteracy and a graduate of Leadership Memphis’ Fast Track program.

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what three words would you choose?

Dedicated, Empathetic, Silly

How did you start working with Literacy Mid-South?

I started as a tutor in 2012, so I was familiar with the organization and had a lot of admiration for what they were doing. I was miserable in my last job and the amount of anxiety it gave me was unbearable. I had spent the past seven years as an account manager, and even though I didn’t have a passion for it, I wasn’t sure what else I was going to do since that is where my experience was. But then the listing came up that Literacy Mid-South was looking for an Adult Learning Coordinator, and even though I had never worked in non-profit before and it would be a hefty pay cut, I decided to give it a whirl. It came down between me and one other person, but Kevin wanted to hire us both, so he made Troy Wiggins the Adult Learning Coordinator and created a position for me. It doesn’t get much more flattering than that!

What kind of work do you do for Literacy Mid-South?

I have been referred to on occasion as “Mr. Many Hats.” My original title when hired was Workplace Literacy Coordinator, which required me to develop a program to provide on site training at local area businesses to the employees who struggle with English. All the curriculum is designed to help improve job performance, reduce turnover, and inspire confidence. The program is called Memphis Mobile Workforce, and I completed a 10 week pilot run last month. In addition to that, I am also helping plan this year’s Mid-South Book Festival by being the main contact for authors and vendors, as well as coordinating the opening night reception and street fair. If time permits, I also assist with the Summer Reading Program when they need an extra hand. Like I said, I wear many hats!

What is one of the biggest educational challenges that Memphis faces?

unnamedWhile I was developing Memphis Mobile Workforce, I met with a number of local organizations who stressed just how many foreign born people in our city lack English skills. Many of them have jobs and are able to perform their duties well, but there is a large communication barrier with co-workers and supervisors, and there are safety concerns that come with not understanding English. But the business has to be willing to invest in their employees too. Some of the businesses I have spoken with have shown interest, but others just do not see it as a priority. We have to find a way to change that, to prove to employers that their staff are people and that these English skills will show positive growth not only in their job but also their everyday lives.

Tell us about one time where you really felt like your work really helped to make a difference in the Mid-South.

My proudest moment thus far was in the middle of the pilot for Memphis Mobile Workforce. I gave the class the same assessment four weeks in that they took on the first day, and the average score shot up 69%! I was so proud of them! A close second would be when an employee with the pilot site company told me that one of the learners who used to never speak to him was trying to start conversations! These were the first real results I got to see, and they truly showed the power of what this program can do.

Would you switch roles with any other Literacy Mid-South employee? If so, who would you switch with?

I love being able to learn about what everyone on the staff is doing and how each of their programs work, but I wouldn’t want to switch roles. At this point, I am exactly where I need to be and for that, I am extremely grateful. Doesn’t mean I won’t be ready down the road, but I still have a lot to learn.

Describe what happens on a typical day off for you.

Movies, movies, movies! I am movie obsessed, so I try to squeeze in as many movies as I can when I have free time. That can be going to the theater or watching something at home. I am also prepping to direct a movie based on a screenplay I wrote, which is taking up a lot of my time. Sunday nights are reserved for a meal and usually a movie (surprise!) with my parents. I should mention that I do try to read as well, although my stack of books does not seem to be getting any smaller!

If you could make everyone on earth read one book, what book would you choose?

Man, that’s tough! I’d have to go with The Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin. I have read it probably ten times, and it still makes me laugh out loud. You can see so much of Martin’s personality in the writing. It’s the perfect safety book if I’m craving something to read because it’s short and there is at least one priceless moment on every page.

What celebrity do people say you resemble? Do you agree with them?

MobyBeing told I look like Moby has been the story of my life! I used to get it on an almost daily basis. About five years ago, I was at Alfred’s on Beale and some tourists actually thought I was Moby and asked me to take a picture with them! There was even a case recently where a picture of Moby was accidentally used to represent me and people I know didn’t even realize it was not me! So, I guess it’s kind of hard for me to say I don’t see the resemblance, although there are days when I consider growing my hair back so I can get a new doppelganger.

What Literacy Mid-South event are you most looking forward to in 2016?

The Mid-South Book Festival, without question! Partially because I am putting so much work into it, but mostly because it is such an exciting event. It is a genuine thrill to bring the community together to collectively share a passion for reading and writing, the bonus being that the festival appeals to all ages! Also, it is an absolute joy for us as a staff since we get to work together to pull the whole thing off. On top of that, there are some incredible new additions to this year’s festival to go along with the exceptional author line up and panels! There will definitely be something for everyone, and I’m quite proud of that.

The 2016  Mid-South Book Festival is only months away! It’s free and open to the public, and children are welcome. Check out the presenting authors, and follow Literacy Mid-South and The Mid-South Book Festival on Twitter for more information and updates.
 

People of Literacy Mid-South: Meet Dominique

Rhodes Literacy Memphis_P3A7318

People of Literacy Mid-South is a column that takes a close look at the folks that make our organization tick.

This week, we’re talking to Dominique DeFreece, Summer Service Fellow for Literacy Mid-South’s Adult Learning Program. Dominique is from Delhi, New York and is a sophomore at Rhodes College. She is an International Studies and History bridge major, with a minor in Urban Studies. We’ve only had Dominique around for a short while, but she’s already proven herself a wonderful addition to the organization!

How did you start working with Literacy Mid-South?

In the fall of 2015 I saw that Literacy Mid-South was having a training session for new volunteer tutors. I decided to sign up to be a volunteer tutor because I was interested in helping adults learn how to read and write. Many people forget that things we do every day like understanding streets signs and filling out a job application involves literacy capabilities. After going through the training I was super stoked and decided I would take on two English Language Learners. I wanted to help Literacy Mid-South more, so I suggested that I be taken on as a Summer Service Fellow.

What kind of work do you do for Literacy Mid-South?

I am currently working on a literacy toolkit to be used with learners whose reading grade equivalency levels range from the 5th to 12th grade. I am looking forward to getting the toolkit to a point where we can test it out and see how learners can use it. This is super exciting to me because it’s something tangible that can benefit others. I’ve also been performing some other duties like revamping the handbooks that each adult learner receives. I’ve been attending the intake sessions for new learners as well.

What do you do on a typical day off?

There is no typical day in the life of Dominique–or as the people at Lenny’s Sub Shop like to call me, Dominam. [This really happened. We have receipts. – Ed.]

But seriously, I usually wake up at about 9:30 and get some brunch: my favorites are pancakes, eggs, and bacon. Then I might read a book or listen to some music. I like exploring Memphis, so then I might catch an Uber down town and window-shop or listen to some live music. Then I would have a snack and take an afternoon siesta. At night I would probably go for a walk through Overton park, hang out with friends, go bowling, or catch a Levitt shell concert.

You’ve only been working with Literacy Mid-South for a little while. What has been your favorite thing about the job so far?

My favorite part has been hanging out with Troy! No, I’m kidding.

So far I have enjoyed the office atmosphere at Literacy Mid-South. It’s really laid back, and I get to work independently. Also, everyone has been really nice. My favorite part of my work so far was sitting in on a meeting with a student who wanted to develop a middle school/high school reading/mentorship group. Before that I was unsure of who could use and benefit from my literacy toolkit. After that meeting though, I am really seeing the need for literacy resources that focus on middle school and high school level readers. I hope that my toolkit will benefit these individuals.

Describe your dream career. What would you be doing?

In my dream job, I would be the Secretary General of the UN. Watch out Ban Ki Moon! I would be responsible for holding the UN general assembly accountable, and trying to implement goals and projects that would benefit the entire planet. One of my main foci would be the education of girls and women around the world.

Dear White AmericaWhat is the last book you read?

Dear White America, Letter To A New Minority by Tim Wise. It’s a great book that EVERYONE should read.

What do you like most about living in Memphis?

I like how Memphis feels like a small town with big city resources. You can go almost anywhere and Memphis and see kind and familiar faces. Last week I was at the Shell and saw at least ten people I know. Unlike bigger cities, Memphis feels very open and accepting no matter where you are.

You have to live the rest of your life as a fruit–what fruit would you be and why?

I would be a Durian because no one wants to eat a Durian.

Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us.

……I’m vertically challenged.

Is the book better than the movie?

Yes. Movies always let me down.

Literatini

 

Our Fifth Annual Literatini event is less than six hours away! Buy your tickets now! We’ll see you there. 

People of Literacy Mid-South: Meet Courtney

courtneymillersantoOur column People of Literacy Mid-South has introduced you to several of the staff members that make Literacy Mid-South tick, but we want you to get to know some of our board members, volunteers, and partner organizations as well. We wouldn’t be nearly as awesome without them and their work.

This week we’re profiling Courtney Miller Santo, a native Oregonian who’s made Memphis her home. Courtney is an English professor, a prolific author, and an all around great person. Find out more about her below.

What kind of work do you on behalf of Literacy Mid-South?

I am currently a member of Literacy Mid-South’s advisory board and I serve as co-chair of the Mid-South Book Festival.

How did you start working with Literacy Mid-South?

I spoke at the Literacy is Key Luncheon a few years ago, and I became aware of the organization and the fantastic work it does in our community. I immediately volunteered to help Literacy Mid-South in any way I could. Shortly thereafter I was approached to help with the Mid-South Book Festival.

What has been your favorite Literacy Mid-South related project or event?

Hands down the Mid-South Book Festival.

How do you think we can foster a love of reading and writing in Memphis?

Don’t apologize for what you’re reading. Embrace it. Are you reading about dragons to escape? That’s fantastic. Are you reading about how to be a better parent? That’s fantastic. Are you reading to impress someone? That’s less fantastic, but at least you are reading. Are you reading video game magazines? That still counts. Did you read an article on Buzzfeed today? Totally reading and totally awesome. This idea that the world is divided into people who like to read and those who don’t enjoy it is nonsense. Reading happens all the time. Find what you love to read and do more of it. I wish we would stop telling young readers and new readers that there are REAL books and once they tackle Ulysses or Moby Dick, then they’ll understand. Books are not hierarchies, they are oceans you swim around in.

What’s the last book that you read?

Do audio books count? [They totally count. – Ed.] I listened to Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence recently during a long drive and I was blown away by how incredible it is and how relevant. I’d only ever read Ethan Frome, which while well-written isn’t the same sort of book. It’s a little like seeing Atlanta and thinking you’ve seen all that the U.S. has to offer. The Age of Innocence is New York City, literally (it is set there) and figuratively.

Is there any book that you’d like to recommend to our readers?

I also just finished Landline by Rainbow Rowell and it was one of those perfect, happy, sweet little books that are so satisfying. It is charming and would be a great read for just about anybody—especially a somebody headed off for vacation.

What’s your favorite thing about being a Memphis-based writer?

This city! I am one of those writers who begins and ends and fills all the space in the middle with setting. Living in this vibrant, authentic, delicious city makes it easy to write. Sometimes, especially during that beautiful spring we just had, I have to sit by an open window and write. Or I curl up out on our patio, which backs up to the greenline and a golf course and I listen to all the people riding their bikes, walking dogs, running, along the trail and just let that seep into my sentences. There is such a tradition of storytelling in this city—musicians have known this since the first bluesman walked our particular stretch of the Mississippi river, but artists know it too, and there are so many great writers here.

Is the book always better than the movie?

Yes, but I always go and see the movie. What does that mean?

If you haven’t marked your calendar for September 10th, go ahead and do it now! The Mid-South Book Festival is only months away, and it’s going to be amazing! It’s also free and open to the public, and children are welcome. For more information, visit http://www.midsouthbookfest.org/.

People of Literacy Mid-South: Meet Knox

knox shelton

People of Literacy Mid-South is a column that takes a close look at the folks that make our organization tick.

This week, we’re talking to Knox Shelton, Community Relations guru for Literacy Mid-South. Knox grew up in East Tennessee and is a graduate of Hendrix College in Arkansas. Since he moved to Memphis three years ago, Knox has amassed a lot of experience through his community work. Find out more about him below.

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what three words would you choose?

I’d choose: Conscientious, patient, and inquisitive.

What is your role at Literacy Mid-South?

I am Literacy Mid-South’s Community Relations Manager. My role is to engage the public and raise awareness about all of our great work. My job is very exciting and fun, as there is always something happening around the office. One of the first things that I was told by fellow staff when I first joined Literacy Mid-South was that things are constantly changing (always for the better). I’ve found that to be very true. Everyone at Literacy Mid-South is always reexamining a program, an event, or a plan to see if there is a way that it can be improved. This makes my job particularly exciting as there is always something to report. Everyone here is incredibly intelligent and driven, which is very inspiring.

What did you do before you worked for Literacy
Mid-South?

I was the Volunteer & Measurement Coordinator the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Memphis. It was my first job when I moved to Memphis and it was a great way to meet a lot of people looking to do great things in our city. I only knew a handful of people when I first moved here three years ago, but I had always wanted to live here since I was a child. Working with individuals who wanted to volunteer in Memphis really gave me an opportunity to hear and see what a lot of Memphians find so great about Memphis and what others view as current obstacles to overcome.

What is one of the biggest challenges that Memphis
faces?

Sam Mattson discussed this a bit in his profile earlier this year, but I think there needs to be more of an emphasis on collaboration on all levels throughout Memphis. Collaboration is extremely important because it creates a dialogue between the various people working to achieve similar goals. A lot of the issues that we face (literacy being a good example of this) are complex, urgent and interconnected on many levels with many other issues. One organization can’t solve the problem alone so its important to come together and utilize each other’s resources to achieving one goal.

Tell us about one time where you really felt like your work really helped to make a difference in the Mid-South.

mid south book festival 2015 street fair

The Mid-South Book Festival 2015 was a huge moment for me. I had basically just started in my role with Literacy Mid-South, and most of my time had been spent getting ready for that week. Seeing the community come together for a week centered around the act of reading, whether it was Literacy Summit, author panels, or the Writer’s Conference, was a truly memorable experience for me.

If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Television’s “Marquee Moon

What is your favorite thing about living in Memphis?

The food, for sure. Picking a favorite from amongst the insanely good restaurants here is almost impossible, but some favorites of mine are Uncle Lou’s, Andrew Michael, Second Line, La Guadalupana, and Payne’s to name a select few. There are lots of things that I love about living in Memphis, but I have always felt that the food here is such a great representation of what makes this city great.

What’s the last book you read?

appalachians all

I just finished Dr. Mark Banker’s Appalachians All. Dr. Banker was a professor of mine in high school and has been a role model of mine since. Appalachians All is a great reflection on Appalachian identity, which is important to me as I grew up in Appalachia before moving to Memphis.

Is your office really messy or really organized?

My office is very messy, which I hate. I am typically a bit obsessive when it comes to being organized, but every time I make some progress in my office, another event starts up and things begin to pile up again.

What Literacy Mid-South event are you most looking forward to in
2016?

The 2016 Mid-South Book Festival. This is such a fun and unique event. There are so many different components to the festival. This year we already have some great authors booked (more still to come too!). I will certainly have to sneak away from working for a bit to hear Lauren Groff speak. Her book, Fates and Furies, is one of my favorite recent reads.

Stay tuned for more People of Literacy Mid-South! Connect with Literacy Mid-South on Facebook and Twitter, visit us at literacymidsouth.org, and subscribe to our blog to stay on top of all of our developments!

People of Literacy Mid-South: Meet Ruby

Ruby Jones

People of Literacy Mid-South is a column that takes a close look at the folks that make our organization tick.

This week, we sat down with Ruby Jones, a veteran of the United States Army, a longtime volunteer tutor and member of Literacy Mid-South’s Volunteer Council, a representative body that speaks on behalf of our volunteers. Literacy Mid-South’s volunteers are the lifeblood of the work that we do surrounding improving outcomes for low literate adults. It would be much harder for us to help Mid-Southerners without people like Ruby.

During her time serving with the United States Army, Ruby learned to speak seven different languages, including Russian. This love of language counts as a large influence in her desire to help low literate Mid-Southerners improve their literacy abilities. She meets weekly with multiple learners, and they really seem to enjoy her focused, language centered instruction. One of the reasons that Ruby has such a fantastic rapport with her learners is her desire to be a teacher–she is a self-described “teacher at heart,” and actually chose to work with adults over the traditional classroom setting.

“Reading opens up so many doors,” Ruby said when asked why she chose to tutor adults over working in a school. “I believe everyone should be able to read. There’s a need in the Mid-South.”

For Ruby, the act of learning is life changing, and she gets “a thrill” at seeing her learners become more and more skilled as they work together. She has been working with her latest learner, Kimberly, for a while now, and there have been some pretty meaningful changes in Kimberly’s grammar, spelling, and math abilities. “I’m learning that there’s more than one way to be successful in life thanks to my tutor,” Kimberly said.

Ruby is one of Literacy Mid-South’s most experienced volunteers, and alongside serving on the Volunteer Council, she is a mentor for new tutors and advises them as part of our Tutor Expert Panel. Much of her advice centers on being flexible and understanding of the learners and their unique lives.

“It takes effort,” Ruby said. “The people we serve, they have lives–jobs, families, problems. That doesn’t mean that they don’t want to be here. They are adults, not children. They are trying, and that is a victory.”

Literacy Mid-South is here to help those who want to improve their reading and writing ability. If you know of someone who needs help, they can reach us at (901) 327-6000.

If you’re interested in helping someone who wants to improve their reading and writing ability, give us a call at the number listed above or visit us online to fill out our volunteer application.

 

People of Literacy Mid South: Meet Vernetta

Vernetta Anderson I like big books

People of Literacy Mid-South is a column that takes a close look at the folks that make our organization tick. This week we’re featuring Vernetta Anderson, a longtime member of Literacy Mid-South’s staff. Vernetta’s official position is Training Services Manager, but she wears many hats. Vernetta is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Business Administration. Her professional experiences are many and varied, as she explains below.

What do you do?

I manage the Read Memphis Project. It is one of our newer initiatives: a training and certification program that helps organizations set up their own literacy or adult education programs. In essence, we are replicating our Adult Learning Program in other community organizations. I assist Read Memphis partner organizations with navigating through the process to become a member of the Read Memphis cohort. I also oversee their training and provide them with all of the resources and materials that they need to be successful.

A number of organizations have already been certified by The Read Memphis Project to deliver literacy services to their clients. Among them are Shelby County Pre-Trial Services, Refugee Empowerment Program, Shelby County Division of Corrections and East End Church of Christ.

What is one of the biggest educational challenges facing the Mid-South?

The number of adults who struggle with reading has reached an epidemic proportion in our city. Adults are leaders of their families and are the pillars of our community, yet only a few providers exist in Memphis that serve adults who read below a 6th grade level. This low number of basic literacy providers for adults is the rationale behind the start of the Read Memphis Project. We need other organizations to join us in serving adults that are struggling with reading. Our attention to them will help them improve their long-term capabilities, which will directly improve the quality of life in the Mid-South.

Vernetta and BorisAs a longtime staff member, what has been your motivation for staying with Literacy Mid-South?

I have always been very sensitive to issues dealing with class, race and gender. So many people who are part of marginalized groups face serious literacy challenges, and a person’s literacy level greatly influences every facet of life and especially the opportunities that they can achieve. At Literacy Mid-South, we want everyone to have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential, and I am all about that.

What did you do before you worked for Literacy Mid-South?

As a volunteer manager, I helped present cultural exhibitions with the Wonders Series, and then helped present the performing arts at the Orpheum Theatre. I did a short stint in higher education teaching nonprofit management and ethics. I tell folks I used to work on the other side of the tracks, and now I work in the trenches…talking about a difference in class!

Would you switch roles with any other Literacy Mid-South employee? If so, who would you switch with?

I would not want to switch roles with anyone. I enjoy my role and feel that I am well suited to it. Due to my past experience with training organizations to set up their programs, I am able to speak to the administrative side of things, as well as the operations or instructional side.

If you could work any career for one day, what career would you choose?

I don’t know. I really have no idea, and I think that is mainly due to my having experiences in work that I could never dream or imagine. For instance, when the Olympic Torch made a trek through Memphis and the cauldron was lit during Sunset Symphony, on the banks of mighty Mississippi, I was a big part of that. It still gives me chills. While at the Orpheum Theatre, I had the opportunity to night after night stand in that grand lobby while the animals were launched down the aisles doing the opening act of The Lion King. Not everyone can include ‘misty water-colored memories’ in describing their work life.

If you could have any one real life or fictional superpower, what would it be?

Invisibility. (For some reason, this sounds better to me than being the proverbial fly
on the wall.)

What celebrity do people say you resemble? Do you agree with them?

I know this is not quite what you had in mind, but it makes a good story anyway. I had a job that required me to spend the day in a great deal of face-to-face persuasive social interaction with many people. One day I overheard some older ladies describing my persona, “Look at her go! She is like a black Scarlett O’Hara.” Did I agree? No, but still today I find the comparison most amusing, and the memory always brings a smug smile.

Describe what happens on a typical day off for you.

My off days begin early in the morning at the salon, followed by a wee bit of shopping (I call it blundering), then lunch with my husband, and I cap off the day by visiting a city attraction or matinee…and yes, I always have a plan for leisure.

What would be the title of your autobiography?

Plain Ole Garden-Variety Black.

Stay tuned for more People of Literacy Mid-South! Connect with Literacy Mid-South on Facebook and Twitter, visit us at literacymidsouth.org, and subscribe to our blog to stay on top of all of our developments!