The story I wrote for the Orlando Sentinel about Jeremy White, then 24, learning to read and write never left me. He went from nothing to writing engaging stories. After the article, Kissimmee fourth graders in Frances Araujo's class mailed him fan letters of motivation.
I recently left the Sentinel after a long career and can now try to help Jeremy's tutors at the Adult Literacy League by raising funds using my July 7-Aug. 8 bike ride across the United States . My friends dubbed it the Wheels for Words campaign. My hope is to strengthen the league endowment for continued success as needs grow.
My challenge to you: Spend two waking hours without reading texts, emails, tv headlines, social media -- anything. You may get an inkling of why these adults make sacrifices to learn what we take for granted.
For every word you read during your challenge, donate at least a dollar to this campaign for the Adult Literacy League -- the rare group that enables students to fill out job applications, file for insurance, order food, navigate streets.
You are not supporting my trip -- I paid for that. Your donations will go directly to the Adult Literacy League, which is supporting this Wheels for Words campaign.
Since I wrote the piece on Jeremy five years ago, he has since gotten a job and taken on some supervisory duties. Even on his beginning wages, he recently wrote an unsolicited check to the League for $40.
Then he crossed that out and wrote "$50."