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Literacy Kansas City

A lot of the volunteer tutors for Literacy Kansas City didn't know what they were getting into, says Director Brad Harris: "Most of them really love reading and literature, and they just want to share that with others." But after they're trained to teach adults to read and have begun their twice-weekly 90-minute sessions, the volunteers gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be poor, because that's how adults who can't read wind up. As many as 225,000 adults in the Greater Kansas City metropolitan area are functionally illiterate, according to United Way research. They can't read signs or maps or fill out job applications. "Tutoring opens volunteers' eyes to the realities of being poor, because they get to see it up close," Harris says. "Afterwards, we see our tutors gain a lot more understanding and empathy for themselves and others."

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