Changing lives 

Who says words can’t change the world? Just days after a story appeared in this publication about 46-year-old Darline Carter, who is learning to read with the help of a Detroit literacy program, dozens of folks contacted Michigan Literacy Inc. to find out how they could help teach others to read.

"We are up to 25 volunteers," says Levona Whitaker, executive director of Michigan Literacy Inc. in Okemos, which provides tutor training and other resources to 75 literacy groups around the state. "It’s just unbelievable."

Whitaker says that volunteers complete an application, which includes a question asking how they heard about Michigan Literacy Inc.

"That’s how I was able to determine that they called as a result of your article," says Whitaker; she spoke to Metro Times reporter Ann Mullen, who wrote the literacy story ("Living between the lines," MT, Nov. 22-29).

Whitaker says that 11 potential students also called to enroll in a literacy program.

All this just warms News Hits’ usually stone-cold heart, especially since the need for literacy tutors in Michigan is so great.

Cheryl Birks, acting director for Literacy Volunteers of America’s Detroit chapter, says that each month about 50 people seeking help with reading are put on a waiting list because the organization does not have enough tutors.

Shorten the wait. Call 1-888-826-READ and find out how you can become a literacy tutor and change lives. Ann Mullen contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or

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