Press Releases

August 10, 2018 (ANN ARBOR, Mich.) – It’s time to save the date for Washtenaw Literacy’s 20th Driving Literacy Gala. It will be a fun evening where you can enjoy dancing to live salsa beats with the Steve Somers Band, while also supporting this great cause by bidding on some really fantastic silent auction items.

This year’s Honorary Host is author Ruth Behar. Born in Havana, Cuba, Ruth grew up in New York City and is now residing in Ann Arbor. She is the Victor Haim Perera Collegiate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan and the first Latina to receive a MacArthur Fellows “Genius” Award.

Her honors also include a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a Distinguished Alumna Award from Wesleyan University, and an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Ruth frequently visits and writes about her native Cuba and she will sign copies of her books, including her debut novel for middle grade readers, Lucky Broken Girl, at the Washtenaw Literacy event.

Driving Literacy’s Good Food. Good Friends. Great Cause event is a very rewarding annual fundraiser supporting the work of Washtenaw Literacy. This year’s event is September 29th, at 6:00 pm, in Washtenaw Community College Morris Lawrence Building Atrium. The evening includes drinks, a strolling supper, and dessert. Tickets are $85 before September 1 and $95 thereafter. Proceeds go directly to Washtenaw Literacy. For information, call (734) 337-3338 or visit 

Now, more than ever, we need your help. We are the largest and oldest literacy council in the state, but continue to face needs that far outstrips our resources. Illiteracy is a statewide problem – urban and rural – even impacting such areas as education-oriented Washtenaw County, home to University of Michigan and a host of other lauded cultural institutions.

For the community, it means a stronger work force and reduced rates of crime and poverty. More importantly it interrupts a frightening cycle of illiteracy: studies show 50% of the children of parents who can’t read will grow up to be illiterate adults.

Washtenaw Literacy Executive Director Amy Goodman notes, “While we are proud to have served the community for nearly five decades, we need your help to continue the fight. During this year’s event, Learner Advocate Fatima Hassan will share her story and describe the impact that Washtenaw Literacy has had on her life. Please consider becoming a tutor, making a donation, and plan to join us on September 29th!”

Washtenaw Literacy’s website ( provides details on how you can join the fight against illiteracy.


About Washtenaw Literacy

Washtenaw Literacy’s purpose is straightforward: we help adults change their lives through literacy. Since 1971 our organization has been devoted to helping men and women improve their reading, writing and English-as-a-Second-Language skills.

Our core programs include 1.) Skills First - skills-based tutoring based on individual goals, 2.) Education Now - tutoring towards educational attainment, and 3.) Workforce Ready - tutoring towards career readiness and success in the work place. Central to all of our programs is one-to-one tutoring customized to the unique needs of each learners and delivered by highly trained and supervised volunteer tutors. Over 90% of adults in our tutoring programs reach one or more of their goals. Part of this success stems from our “designer tutor” approach. We train each of our volunteer tutors to plan lessons according to the learner’s strengths, needs and goals. Adult learners in our program are motivated because they are setting, and meeting, their own standards for success.

This focus on individual goals makes our program unique in the county. Washtenaw Literacy is a critical part of our community’s educational continuum. Someday we hope to have no need for our services. Until then, we’ll support our volunteer tutors as they help low-literate men and women improve their skills and their lives.