Today, hundreds of you watched live from our web site Former First Lady Barbara Bush speak about the importance of literacy.
The Literacy Council of Tyler feels like a lot of their success comes from Barbara Bush, who spent years advancing the cause universal literacy.
KLTV 7's Annette Falconer shared her afternoon with Barbara Bush, and with some east Texans who say the literacy council changed their lives.
"My wife pushed me to start, but I didn't want to go because I was so ashamed and embarrassed, but that was my giant step," says Joe Muniz, a student at the Literacy Council of Tyler.
At the age of fourteen, Joe Muniz dropped out of school, foregoing his education, to help take care of his sixteen siblings. "I love my mom and dad, and my brothers and sisters, and that's why I took that giant step." Joe regretted not getting his education, and decided to go to the Literacy Council of Tyler. "Once I did that, everything else came in," says Muniz. Now Joe knows how to read and write.
"They are my inspiration, at all times the students are my inspiration," says the Executive Director of the Literacy Council of Tyler, Nancy Crawford. She says having Former First Lady Barbara Bush come to Tyler is encouraging. "In 1997 when she first came we were serving 600 students, and we serve 2400 students a year now," says Crawford.
Barbara Bush says when she became the First Lady she knew she needed a cause to support.
"It suddenly seemed so simple, if more people could read, write and comprehend, most of the problems, that I worried about would be solved," says Bush. Barbara says it's literacy programs that create a better nation. She uses her husbands words of advice to encourage people to volunteer their knowledge. "We can find meaning and reward by serving some higher purpose than ourselves," says Bush.
With the help of the community, people like Joe can find happiness.
"The only way you can become somebody is to make that giant step, no matter how much shame and embarrassment that you feel, just do the giant step," says Muniz.
We have hundreds of photos of Mrs. Bush and of those in attendance today.
Just go to our home page, you'll see a story called "Barbara Bush celebrates literacy" and you can view them and save them to your computer for free.