RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) - ABC 8News is once again partnering with the Valentine Richmond History Center to profile the people and organizations that have helped to shape our region. Nominations for the 2014 Richmond History Makers Awards will be accepted until June 30.
In October, the museum will honor winners like Harriet Scruggs, a 2013 award recipient. She is the Executive Director of The READ Center, a program assisting anyone 18 and older who can't read or who has difficulty reading. Typically the Center serves 300 to 400 people every year in Richmond and the Tri-Cities.
Michael Armstead started the program in 2012. "Harriet is one of the greatest people I ever met," he says with admiration of the woman who helped him work through struggles with reading. "I tried to hide it by not verbally communicating in a crowd, not reading around people, not picking up a book."
Scruggs says Armstead wasn't alone that way. "It's there and those who are suffering and dealing with this on a daily basis generally try to hide it and generally are successful." Once students come forward, The READ Center tutors work one-on-one with them at seven different reading sites in the area. "We work on breaking words down, decoding. We work on the sounds of long and short vowels which is a mystery for anyone sometimes."
Scruggs says despite her time in the spotlight as a History Maker last year, she still prefers to stay behind the scenes. She instead focuses on the hard work of the tutors, the students and their success stories.
Since Armstead got involved in the program, he's enrolled in college and has been offered a promotion at work. "They have opened my eyes up to a world I did not know. Now reading has become a part of me," he says while sorting through some reading materials at the Main Branch of the Richmond Public Library on East Franklin Street.
Scruggs says learning to read is not the end of a journey for her students at The READ Center. She knows it's the beginning for them. "That lifelong learning enthusiasm is part and parcel of what we want to instill."
Do you know someone like Scruggs who is making a difference in our community? Follow this link to nominate an individual, company or organization for a 2014 Richmond History Makers Award.
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