Organization helps those facing literacy barriers

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)-- It’s something many of us take for granted, reading and writing. One local organization says more than 10% of adults living in the Chippewa Valley struggle in some way with literacy every day.

Literacy Volunteers of the Chippewa Valley has been helping adults overcome illiteracy for 30 years.

Thursday night they held a fundraising event to bring awareness of the program and what it’s doing to help people who face every day barriers.

“I knew that reading was always hard for me,” Hannah Hrdlicka said.

Just a few years ago, the wife and mother from Eau Claire says she was reading at a fourth grade level.

“I wanted to further my education and I found out I was dyslexic,” she explained.

After discovering her dyslexia, she was pointed toward Literacy Volunteers, an organization that helps people overcome barriers that come with struggling to read and write.

“Reading billboards or even the map or speed signs the exit signs at a building was hard,” Hrdlicka said.

Just last year alone, Literacy Volunteers helped more than 456 people in Eau Claire, Chippewa and Dunn Counties like Hannah.

The program relies on volunteers like John Murphy, who help tutor students weekly on a volunteer basis.

“There are a lot of people that are very bright and have a common sense way of thinking but they struggle with language and this helps them so much,” Murphy explained.

The tutoring is free for students and with programs for G.E.D., family literacy and English as a second language; it’s helping fill a need in the community.

“I like to think of literacy as a building block, without it we can't do so many of the other things,” Murphy went on to explain.

For students like Hrdlicka, the time spent with a tutor has helped her get to a college reading level. She's now on her way to earning a college degree.

“I wouldn't be here if I didn't have them, I definitely would not be going to college,” she added.

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