TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Cassandra Swanson read at a second grade level when she first came to the Literacy Council of Tyler; she is now in her fourth semester at a local junior college.
Swanson shared her story at a Literacy Council of Tyler, or LCOT, luncheon on Wednesday. January is Literacy Awareness Month and the LCOT used Wednesday's event to talk about ways to fight illiteracy. They also thanked recent donors.
Swanson is in her mid-40's and says she decided to go to the LCOT in 2010 after losing her job.
"Without the Literacy Council of Tyler, I would not be in college today. It helped prepare the way for me to go to college," Swanson said.
Swanson is studying to be a medical office manager at TJC, and is set to graduate in 2014.
Swanson says she never thought she would go to college because she grew up in a neighborhood where "you weren't expected to succeed."
She hopes her story inspires others who struggle with literacy.
"If I can do it starting off on a second grade level, I would like to encourage everyone and let them know that it is not too late and I am living proof of that," Swanson said.
According to LCOT, 18 million U.S. adults don't read well enough to earn a living.
In partnership with Tyler Junior College, Literacy Council of Tyler provides free GED preparation, English as a Second Language instruction, as well as basic literacy instruction.