BANGOR — “Five years ago, I struggled with so many things and today, so much has changed. Now I believe in myself.”
Brandi Meservey, a single mother of three young boys who dropped out of school in 7th grade, was talking about changes in her life since connecting with Literacy Volunteers of Bangor. She was a featured speaker at the organization’s donor appreciation event on Sept. 25.
The event was part of Literacy Volunteers of Bangor’s 50th anniversary celebration. Donors heard personal stories from students who have benefited from Literacy Volunteers’ services and individual volunteer tutors.
“My tutors have done more than help me improve my reading,” said Meservey. “They have taught me how to wade through complicated legal notices from my landlord, advocate on behalf of my children with their teachers, and explained the impact of credit scores.”
Other student speakers noted the ways their increased proficiency in English helped them find better jobs and contribute to the community.
In recognition of its 50th year, event organizers also unveiled Literacy Volunteers’ newly established endowment fund which will sustain its mission in perpetuity.
“As a former 3rd grade teacher, I am haunted by the students who struggled with reading,” said Jen Montgomery-Rice, Endowment Committee chair. “By 3rd grade, students who don’t read at grade level typically don’t catch up to their peers, ever. These students become the adults Literacy Volunteers will serve in our future and we want to be sure that we’re here to help them.”
Literacy Volunteers of Bangor was founded in 1969 by two retired teachers, Sister Mary Benigna and Agnes Beckwith. The first student served by this mission was a woodcutter who signed his name with the letter X and eventually learned to read the newspaper. Today, Literacy Volunteers of Bangor serves over 350 adults annually and involves some 250 volunteers to carry out its mission.
For more information about how to volunteer, receive help, or donate to the endowment or annual fund, please contact 207-942-8451 or visit LVBangor.org.