People of Literacy Mid-South: Meet Ruby

Friday, Feb 26, 2016

People of Literacy Mid-South is a column that takes a close look at the folks that make our organization tick.

This week, we sat down with Ruby Jones, a veteran of the United States Army, a longtime volunteer tutor and member of Literacy Mid-South’s Volunteer Council, a representative body that speaks on behalf of our volunteers. Literacy Mid-South’s volunteers are the lifeblood of the work that we do surrounding improving outcomes for low literate adults. It would be much harder for us to help Mid-Southerners without people like Ruby.

During her time serving with the United States Army, Ruby learned to speak seven different languages, including Russian. This love of language counts as a large influence in her desire to help low literate Mid-Southerners improve their literacy abilities. She meets weekly with multiple learners, and they really seem to enjoy her focused, language centered instruction. One of the reasons that Ruby has such a fantastic rapport with her learners is her desire to be a teacher–she is a self-described “teacher at heart,” and actually chose to work with adults over the traditional classroom setting.

“Reading opens up so many doors,” Ruby said when asked why she chose to tutor adults over working in a school. “I believe everyone should be able to read. There’s a need in the Mid-South.”

For Ruby, the act of learning is life changing, and she gets “a thrill” at seeing her learners become more and more skilled as they work together. She has been working with her latest learner, Kimberly, for a while now, and there have been some pretty meaningful changes in Kimberly’s grammar, spelling, and math abilities. “I’m learning that there’s more than one way to be successful in life thanks to my tutor,” Kimberly said.

Ruby is one of Literacy Mid-South’s most experienced volunteers, and alongside serving on the Volunteer Council, she is a mentor for new tutors and advises them as part of our Tutor Expert Panel. Much of her advice centers on being flexible and understanding of the learners and their unique lives.

“It takes effort,” Ruby said. “The people we serve, they have lives–jobs, families, problems. That doesn’t mean that they don’t want to be here. They are adults, not children. They are trying, and that is a victory.”

Literacy Mid-South is here to help those who want to improve their reading and writing ability. If you know of someone who needs help, they can reach us at (901) 327-6000.

If you’re interested in helping someone who wants to improve their reading and writing ability, give us a call at the number listed above or visit us online to fill out our volunteer application.