“All across the state, all across the country, we do find that there are adults who struggle to read and the term functional literacy really means reading at 0 to fourth grade level,” Michael Evans, the executive director of the Kalamazoo Literacy Council, said. “Most documents for adults struggling to read at that level, they may not be able to read it independently. So that might mean the mail you receive, the applications you need to fill out if you try to apply for a job — not being able to search those jobs and be able to see how you fit.”
“Jay Parsons is one of the most committed and compassionate educators I have ever met. His service as a volunteer tutor and instructor positively impacts the lives of the learners who are fortunate to work with him. He also inspires others to volunteer and teach adults by his example and his remarkable lifelong dedication to education,” Evans said.
A love for family, a quest for a better life and a stroke of luck brought Elvis Vetene to West Michigan. Vetene won the visa lottery, also called the Diversity Visa Program. He left the Democratic Republic of the Congo for Kalamazoo to give his family a better life. Vetene spoke several African languages and French. But because of COVID-19 his English level was not improving.