Barbara Smith

I have seen Angela Wilburn passionately speak about the literacy council for years. It was obvious to me and the other attending guests that she loves and believes in her program. I knew that when time permitted I would volunteer in some capacity for the Eastern Arkansas Literacy Project. However, due to my employment hours, it took a while for me to actually follow through on my desire.

I remember the moment I knew I had something to offer, and it would help out not only the council, but our community. Angela was in her office cutting out some bright color papers, she seemed a little sad, but focused. After visiting with her for a moment, she informed me that she was making items to setup a booth at community resource fair. She was disappointed because she thought she had money to purchase a tablecloth with the council’s logo and professional postcard size flyers that she could use on her table. She said she found out that she didn’t have money to purchase those items, so she decided to make them herself. She knew this resource fair would gather a lot of people that need the council’s help, but she could also recruit new volunteers. At the time, she had made bookmarks, postcard flyers, and created a tutor book using papers from home and that she had purchased from the local Dollar Tree.

I didn’t have money to donate, but I realized that I could assist the council by laminating some of the homemade items to make them look more professional. Another way I could assist her was by putting her tutor and volunteer books together using a binder machine that my office has.

When I returned the items fully laminated, and books held tougher with plastic binding materials, Angela’s entire face lite up with joy. Not only did I dress up the material, I also helped her cut out the items for display. My office has also provided a safe and confidential place for tutors and students to meet for a reading session.

I may not have the time I would like to consistently tutor students, and I may not have the time to assist with resumes, or help with the websites, but I am honored to donate the resources I have in my possession. I am the person who helps Eastern Arkansas present professional material for students, volunteers and tutors, and I get joy from seeing our work displayed at local businesses, churches, and throughout the community. I am proud to pass out our materials, and I am proud to tell folks about the Eastern Arkansas Literacy Project.

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