We take for granted our ability to read, but according to the U.S. Department of Education, there are 32 million adults in the United States alone that are illiterate, and 19 percent of high school graduates who cannot read.
Longview is fortunate to have the East Texas Literacy Council (ETLC). This non-profit, community based organization is dedicated to changing lives through literacy. One-to-one and small group instruction is offered both to adults and out of school youth who need reading, writing, math, and pre-GED skills. Instruction is also provided to students where English is their second language.
On Wednesday, June 5, the ETLC will hold their annual fundraiser, BEE for Literacy, at Pine Tree Junior High School, beginning at 11:30 a.m. ETLC board member, Brian Benson, is serving as the 2013 chairman for the BEE, and encourages the community and area businesses to support this worthwhile cause. Spelling bee teams, comprised of three members, compete to earn the top honor of spelling champion. The “audience spell” gives everyone in attendance a chance to show their spelling skills as well. Proceeds raised during this annual, fun-filled event help support the ongoing efforts of the ETLC.
The ability to read and write is taken as a given in today’s society, but all too often, many struggle with literacy,” Mr. Benson said. “As great a town as Longview is, can you imagine how many lives could be positively impacted if everyone had the ability to read?”
In addition to his volunteer service with the East Texas Literacy Council, Mr. Benson is also actively involved with the Longview-Greggton Rotary Club. Members consist of business professionals and community leaders, and the Rotary Club motto, “Service Above Self,” conveys the humanitarian spirit of the organization.
“Volunteering in Longview is easy and many organizations need assistance,” Mr. Benson said. “It is a privilege to serve Longview and the surrounding East Texas communities with our time and talent.”
Mr. Benson was born in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He is a graduate of Longview High School and earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Mr. Benson is a sales agent with Reliable Life Insurance Company in Longview. He and wife, Jamie, have been married 19 years and are the parents of two daughters, Taylor, 16, and Maci, 14. The Bensons are members of Mobberly Baptist Church where Mr. Benson serves as a greeter, a small group leader for eighth grade boys, and is involved with Upward Football.
“I grew up here and was taught at a very young age to help my community in any way possible. By giving to your community, you will be richly blessed,” Mr. Benson said.
For more information about the East Texas Literacy Council annual fundraiser, BEE for Literacy, please call 903-757-9302, or visit www.easttexasliteracycouncil.org.