Literacy Council to honor Barbara Bush for changing lives - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Literacy Council to honor Barbara Bush for changing lives through literacy


It's not every day we can say a former First Lady is coming to town, but in just over a week, former First Lady Barbara Bush will be in Tyler to celebrate the work she and the Barbara Bush Foundation have been doing with and for the Literacy Council of Tyler.

Mrs. Bush will speak at a luncheon given in her honor by the Literacy Council next Tuesday, January 24, in Tyler.

Mrs. Bush and her foundation have been instrumental in helping the Literacy Council of Tyler. Mrs. Bush last visited Tyler in 1997 to promote the Literacy Council's programs. Her foundation has also funded the Literacy Council's Family Literacy Program, an ESL program for parents and children at Tyler's Douglas Elementary School, on four separate occasions.

Next Tuesday's visit will be an opportunity to say thank you to Mrs. Bush for all the help she's given the Literacy Council over the last fifteen years.

"There are a lot of adults who are eking out a living and not meeting their full potential because they don't have the opportunity to improve their skills, and that's who we are trying to help the most," said Nancy Crawford, Executive Director of the Literacy Council of Tyler.

The Literacy Council of Tyler helps 2,400 students a year who need tutoring, ESL training, or a GED.

And Crawford said none of it would be possible without the financial and emotional support of Mrs. Bush.


"Because she knows, and we know too, that literacy is a family affair. That has been proven over and over by all kinds of studies. So if mom's reading, and mom's educational level is strong and is advancing, that will happen with her children also," she said.

That's exactly Maria Romero's story. Maria and her five children came to the US from Mexico five years ago, and Maria started at the Literacy Council just over a year ago.

"First I couldn't decide because I said, But I can't because I have 5 children and I don't have time," she said.

But Maria and her son Angel started going to the Literacy Council's Family Literacy Program, and according to her teachers, Maria has made leaps and bounds.

"When I go to the store, for example,  I can pay or whatever," she said.

"How does that make you feel?" I asked her.

"Oh, very good," she said.

The program hasn't been without challenges, but Maria says it's changed her life.

"I decided to learn to help my children and for myself. And now, I can help with my children's homework. It's very important to me," she said.

Tickets are still available for the luncheon honoring Mrs. Bush, but time is running out.

You have until Wednesday afternoon, January 18, to buy tickets. You can buy them at any Brookshire's or Brookshire's Fresh location in Tyler, or online at the Literacy Council's website,

Tickets are $65, and the proceeds go to help the Literacy Council continue to fund their programs, which are free to their students.

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