No. 550



You no doubt have heard the old saying, a rose by any other name is still a rose. This is true as it relates to "Any of a large genus of hardy, erect or climbing shrubs, with rod like, prickly stems: the national flower of New York, North Dakota and Iowa."
However, Rose is also a feminine name, and I would like to tell you about a terrific lady whose name is Rose and lives in the Pocono Mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania. She reads my column, published each week, in the town of Hawley, Penn. This lady wrote to me a few weeks ago and you will never believe the reason why. It was not to receive accolades for herself, but because she wanted to help other people.
She was responding to a couple of my columns that had to do with prison inmates who were looking for a job and a plan to improve literacy. If you can add, you will really appreciate what I am going to say next. She said, "For the past 13 years (since I retired as a chemistry teacher of 47 years), I have been tutoring as a volunteer for the Wayne Pike Adult Literacy Program." Now, unless she graduated from college when she was about 10, you can tell how old she is and she is still out there giving her time as a volunteer, trying to help adults learn to read or improve their reading skills.
We have an adult literacy program here in our community and they help a lot of deserving people. What I am going to tell you about Rose is meant as a tribute to volunteer literacy tutors all across our nation. In most cases these people don't get a lot of credit, but they are making a great contribution. If you would like to know how much, just ask any person they have taught to read. To be sure, this is a life-changing experience that will help them have a better life and it also has a great impact on future generations.
But back to Rose Robacker for a moment. This past year she was presented the Tutor of the Year Award by the Wayne Pike Adult Literacy Program. Here are just a few of the reasons why. Rose has worked at both county jails, having helped 15 men learn to read or improve reading skills, and about 180 obtain a GED certificate. At the present time, she has three students who are not in jail and all this work is on a one-to-one basis. Last fall she created a course on "how to get a job and keep it" once these men were released back into society.
Ten men signed up. Then the men asked for a course on how to behave when they got out. She then created a 12-week course (grew to 15 weeks this spring), called "Survival Skills." About 20 men signed up for this. At the moment, she says she is working to create, at the request of the men, a course on how to be a better dad while they are incarcerated. There are no women in this county jail as there is no room, so they are placed in other jails. Rose went on to tell me that this is a real challenge.
There was lots of other information, but she ends her letter by saying, "I am writing to let you know, that in some small way, the Wayne Pike Adult Literacy Program is addressing some of the problems and needs of the communities. This is true across Pennsylvania, as there are programs that deal with these needs in every county in the state." And here is her reason for writing to me. She says, "It would be wonderful if sometime you would address the work of the Adult Literacy Program, especially those whose tutors are all volunteers. These men and women do a wonderful service for their community."
Well, there you go, Rose! My best shot to inform my readers across the country, and my prayer would be that many would be inspired by your example. Helping others is the greatest satisfaction of all.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, Ark. 72034. To support literacy, buy his book, "Learning, Earning & Giving Back.")