Board Member Ron Stevens had the following article published in the Kenosha News on November 2, 2016.
As we enter the final days of America’s presidential election campaign, it would be easy to give up. So much negativity; so much pessimism about who we are and where we are going.
Sometimes I, like so many other Americans, feel like I need to take a shower after getting my nightly fix of presidential politics. How are we ever going to bring America back together?
When I begin to feel overwhelmed by cynicism and all of the problems that we as a country face, I need only look to the Kenosha Literacy Council to regenerate my sense of optimism. This organization, which helps immigrants assimilate into our country and city, is based on the premise that people are inherently good. For more than 50 years, the Kenosha Literacy Council has been helping people from more than 40 countries throughout the world speak English, gain American citizenship and find their place in Kenosha’s job market and community.
The Kenosha Literacy Council’s role has never been more vital. Many of the serious problems our country faces are the result of a lack of understanding of different cultures. Terrorism, bigotry and racism are byproducts of those differences that people fear. The Kenosha Literacy Council addresses those differences through education. It is helping to nurture America forward to a better place for our children and grandchildren by helping us to get to know each other.
There is the gentleman from China who discovered that the Kenosha Literacy Council can help him speak English so he can talk with his children and grandchildren about what is happening at school and in their neighborhood. There is the lady from Ukraine who is learning how to communicate better with her neighbors and friends. There is the young lady from Mexico who is working her way up the career ladder with KLC programs helping her every step of the way.
These are but a few examples of the great work the Kenosha Literacy Council is doing to make Kenosha, and by extension America, a better, safer place for all of us to live and raise a family.
When I was 10 years old and in Miss Pedley’s fifth grade class at Bain Elementary, I remember riding my bike after school to the old West Side Library on 63rd street to explore the world of books that was contained within those old walls.
The building is still there, in all of its architectural character and splendor. The Kenosha Literacy Council programs offered at that location are giving Kenosha’s immigrant community a chance to succeed; a chance to get to know the Kenosha I grew up in; a chance to realize the American dream.
With all of the issues confronting us in this election season, it is nice to take a side trip with an organization that has boots on the ground solving issues and creating hope for a better future for all of our citizens.
If you’re looking for a reason to smile in this season of frowns, you should get to know the Kenosha Literacy Council. They have been doing great work for over 50 years. The fine people from other countries who have an eager desire to get to learn from you can attest to the great programs Kenosha Literacy Council has provided to them in their effort to become educated citizens of this great country.
Ron Stevens, retired chief professional officer of the Kenosha Boys & Girls Club, is a member of the board of directors of the Kenosha Literacy Council (www.kenoshalit.org). Town Square is a recurring feature giving local newsmakers an opportunity to comment on issues of the day.