by Gabriell Smith Ticket to Read Coordinator/ AmeriCorps VISTA
The phrase “it takes a village” certainly applies to mastering literacy.
For years Literacy KC thrived as a one-to-one tutoring model, working hard to reach the thousands of low-literate adults in the Kansas City area—forgetting only one thing—the power of community.
You see, no one person ever has all of the answers, and regardless of the amount time spent researching on the internet, combining skills with others is always going to give you a better answer. Yet, living in a society that values independence can hide the influence communities have.
Take a step back and think about all the communities you’re apart of…family, work, friendship circles, church, gym…The list goes on. Each and every person in your network of communities is different, and within your community you create a network of connections and bonds with others who come together simply for one common interest.
Want to check out a Royals game? Check out the community of baseball lovers. Like running miles and miles till you can’t breathe? Gather with a community of marathon runners. Communities are all around and in a digitally driven world, new communities are created almost every day—from people interested in cooking or stamp collecting, to model trains and much more.
While most people need to be part of a community for life’s necessities, most people want to be part of a community because of the sense of the community it provides—being a part of a group of people who share something in common, something they feel passionately about. Something that, when shared, makes individuals seem less lonely. A community is a safe place.
Literacy KC embraces the power of community, creating a community rich with positivity, a community that promotes growth and achievement, a community with like-mindedness and shared experiences—a classroom community.
We know that by surrounding yourself with others working toward a similar goal, you get motivation, support, and friendly competition to push yourself just a bit further than you would have done on your own.
Some days those goals might seem impossible, and on those days when you want to give up, those days when your belief in yourself may be fading you can turn to your community, be inspired, and become better than you ever believed possible.
Gabriell is Literacy KC’s Ticket to Read Program Coordinator and contributes to the Literacy KC blog. In addition, Gabriell writes for her own blog, “Informed”. Gabriell has written for her alma mater’s university newspaper and writes about pop culture and social commentary. You can find her work at Gabriellrsmith.wixsite.com/informed.