George Henderson

George-HendersonChicago native George Henderson graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He is an architectural intern with WER Architects/Planners in Little Rock. He learned about Literacy Action at a literacy festival, but his first exposure to illiteracy was through an adult family member who was being taught to read. “It was a surprise to me because he was getting through life and seemed to be making it okay.  Most literacy students are competent people, clever at hiding their handicap. I always loved to read and felt that anyone who couldn’t was missing a great deal.” George knows that more adults would seek help if it were not for the stigma associated with illiteracy. “The biggest hurdle is embarrassment.  People hesitate to seek help.”

George and his literacy student both work busy schedules but both make time to meet at least once during the week. George says that frequent communication helps the two stay on track. “I call my student every week to make sure he is going to make the session. The routine becomes part of your life.”

Like most tutors, George works with his student on practical skills that he can use every day. One of his student’s goals was to learn to write a check. “While we worked on his lessons, we also made check writing a side activity. The day he told me that he had written his first check without reservation or fear or embarrassment was a memorable reward for me.”

George had always wanted to give back to the community. At the end of every lesson, his student reads a little bit better. “He doesn’t struggle with the things he used to struggle with. Just knowing I have helped improve his life and opened the world of reading to him is all the benefit I need.”