One of my discoveries, during this year of firsts, has been the website, holidayinsights.com. At this site I can click on the tab labeled Bizarre and Unique Days, which pulls up a list of the months. By clicking on each month, I can see the dates and see what unique holidays are celebrated on that day. I have found that there is a holiday for every day, ranging from the silly…yesterday was not only Grandparents’ Day but also Neither Rain nor Snow Day… to the amazing…September 13 is Positive Thinking Day. This has been a valuable resource for me and I check the dates often.
Today was a great day to celebrate. September 8 is International Literacy Day. I have not been aware of all these unique holidays, and therefore, have not celebrated them properly. For my first today, I focused on and celebrated literacy.
International Literacy Day promotes literacy all over the world. It was created by the United Nations and first celebrated on September 8, 1965. The aim was to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), about 714 million adults lack basic literacy skills. One in five adults are still not literate and 2/3 of those are women. UNESCO hopes to raise awareness of the importance of literacy through this global observance and also celebrate the fact that while many are still illiterate, more than 4 billion people are literate.
Turning locally, I researched Joplin’s NALA (Neighborhood Adult Literacy Action) Read program. They serve under educated adults through a tuition free adult literacy program that pairs adult learners with volunteer tutors in a one-on-one setting. Sessions cover reading and writing, as well as basic mathematics, and are guided by the adult learner’s goals in four areas: life long learner, worker, family member, citizen. Joplin NALA Read also has an English as Second Language program that is set up as a one-on-one tutoring program.
Literacy is defined, simply, as the ability to read and write. Many of us, including me, take this skill for granted. I have been reading since I was pre-kindergarten, learning to read snuggled up on my mom’s lap long before I went to school. Books have been my friends, my gateways to far away places, in the past, the present and the future. They have taught me what I need to know about a huge variety of subjects. All my life, if I have wanted to know more about something, I read a book about the topic. I love books that enrich me, stretch me, open new doors for me. I have a fondness for historical fiction, epic novels, such as Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings saga, and books that assist me on my spiritual journey. I would be bereft without my books, my companions in life.
I am appreciative of this International day that raises awareness world-wide, and raised my awareness as well. Today, to celebrate, I did the research. I read, enjoying a cup of hot tea and a chapter in Dragonfly in Amber, book two in the fascinating Outlander series, which is set in Scotland 200 years ago. And I am making a donation to the Joplin NALA Read Program, where funds can help wipe out illiteracy locally. There is a link to their website, below.
Malcolm X says, “People don’t realize how a man’s whole life can be changed by one book.” I know mine has been. I want that same opportunity for everyone.