(BEDFORD) - Adele Bowden-Purlee, Dan Terrell and their colleagues at SOAR are determined to enhance people's lives.
In fact, they've worked diligently to put a proven process in place.
Unfortunately, they lack one vital element -- individuals with the will to improve their lot in life.
Purlee is Lawrence County's director of SOAR, and Terrell serves as president of the organization's board.
SOAR is an acronym for Success & Opportunity at Reading. The group's mission is to train volunteers who are then paired with adults who cannot read or struggle to do so.
"We offer a second opportunity at learning to read for those people who may have fallen through the cracks when they had their first educational opportunity to learn," explained Gene McCracken, vice president of SOAR's board. "This is a confidential service offered through dedicated people who want to help Lawrence County citizens move forward.
"If you cannot read well and you wish to improve your own quality of life, SOAR could be your answer."
Unfortunately, too few are seeking that answer.
"We have six trained volunteers in place ready to help," Purlee explained. "This is a free service to people in our community. I know there are people out there who can benefit from this, so we need to get the word out."
Terrell emphasized SOAR's mission is simple.
"We have only one goal," he explained. "We want to teach you to read.
"There is no cost. We don't need an explanation of why you've failed to learn. There's no blame here."
Terrell said pride is SOAR's most challenging impediment.
"We can offer a second chance here," he said, "a chance to improve your life both socially and financially. But people are embarrassed because they can't read, so they won't come forward.
"We have tutors available right now. They are waiting on students."
Terrell insisted all interactions are confidential.
"Anyone that wants to try the program can call me on my cell at 797-1555," he said. "I guarantee the only people who will know their name are me, the director and the tutor."
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