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“It was just a fighting thing, I had to do myself…it was hard.”

While David Anderson can fix, clean, or move just about anything, he struggled to read and write since he was a child. As an adult, he found it hard to find employment, but David has built his career as a facilities manager, landscaper, assistant cook, and other hard manual labor jobs that most people do not want to do. His stellar work ethic and big heart are what landed him as the Maintenance Engineer at United Way of the Coastal Empire, where he has been for 26 years.

But this year, David began literacy lessons at Royce Learning Center in the Adult and Community Education program funded by United Way. Twice a week, he attends sessions with a tutor and learning partner who has a similar level of reading skills. This program at Royce Learning Center aims to assist adult learners with academic support and workforce training by mastering skills in things like basic literary instruction, work-related certification preparation, post-secondary placement tests, and/or GED preparation. It is part of the economic opportunity branch of the United Way Community Fund that helps people gain knowledge, skills and support to improve financial status. Last year, United Way helped 50 people attend adult literacy instruction and 20 people achieve their GED.

Despite David not knowing how to read for most of his life, he has not given up on bettering himself and growing his career skills. He is overcoming his dyslexia, a learning disorder that affects areas of the brain that process language. Because of these tutoring sessions, David can now read the news and do homework with his grandchildren; but even more important, he can handle ordinary life responsibilities like paying bills, making recipes, and understanding directions.

David currently works three jobs supporting his family. His strength, diligence, and perseverance have undoubtedly been what has gotten him this far in life. And now, being able to read will make things incredibly easier. David says, “It makes me feel ten times better to do more than I used to know…ten times faster.”

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