In My 50s, I Learned to Read at the Center – Calvin’s Story

Calvin G. lived his life up until his mid 40s through pictures. Without learning how to read English, he faced many obstacles. Contracts, job applications, text messages, grocery shopping, and more are just a preface.

Calvin grew up in Mississippi and moved to Houston in middle age. Although Calvin was content with his life, learning how to read was a personal goal for him.

At the center, he met with the same tutor for nearly 9 years and learned how to read in his mid-50s. CrossWalk Houston is an outreach initiative by Memorial Drive United Methodist Church serving West Houston neighbors located at the Outreach Center of West Houston. There, students have learned English, passed their GED, entered college, obtained better employment, mastered computer skills, and became U.S. citizens. Anyone could see the glimmer and joy in his eyes as his consistency helped him accomplish a life goal.

Of roughly 130 million adults with low literacy skills, “…More than half of Americans between the ages of 16 and 74 (54%) read below the equivalent of a sixth-grade level.” Calvin is one who took charge of his story, outcomes, and predicaments. His proudest and most exciting moment was going to the grocery store. Not having to shop through the visuals of food but being able to buy various types of food and the ability to read the instructions on how to cook it!

When you learn to read you will be born again…and you will never be quite so alone again

—Rumer Godden

Some get sober, some break free from poverty, Calvin got literacy. What cause will you support at the Outreach Center of West Houston?

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