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Friday, July 11, 2014

Is never too late to begin!

Alferd Williams was born in 1937 in Eudora, Arkansas, one of nine
children in his family. When he was a boy, his parents, who worked as
sharecroppers, could not afford for both Alferd and his twin brother
to be gone all day to school.

In order for both boys to get some education, Alferd's mother devised
a plan to alternate days where one twin would go to school while the
other stayed home to help on the farm. However, Alferd's twin would
often rise early and sneak away to school, leaving Alferd to work long
days on the farm throughout his school years. As a result, Alferd
never learned to read.

Many decades later, Alferd, then a resident of Saint Joseph, Missouri,
began to help a single mother by walking her three children to and
from school. The 68-year-old Alferd acted as a parent to the children
and helped care for them every afternoon. What he could not help
them with, however, was their homework.

When Alesia Hamilton, the first-grade teacher of one of the children,
discovered that Alferd could not read the notes she had been sending
home with the children, she began to teach him how to read. In the
fall of 2006, Alferd enrolled as a first-grade student.
After completing the first grade, Alferd chose to stay in Alesia's class
and continue to learn with the new first-graders. Alesia encouraged
Alferd's passion for reading and, eventually, for teaching children to
read.

In fact, parents said their children would come home excited,
with stories about how Alferd had helped them learn to read.
Alferd is still in Alesia's class, where he plans to stay until he
completes his GED.

Literacy has changed his life and opened a world
of opportunities. His story shows us that it is never too late to begin.

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