Success Stories

At Cape Fear Literacy Council our students are our number one priority and we take great pride in every success story we help create! Take a look at some of the stories our students have shared with us!

Please enjoy these profiles in literacy and check back with us to experience more stories of success from our students.

Literacy whirlwind for some, Around the World in 80 Days for patrons

Literacy whirlwind for some, Around the World in 80 Days for patrons

Literacy whirlwind for some, Around the World in 80 Days for patrons by Sam Wilson Wednesday, February 12, 2014   Staff photo by Cole Dittmer  James “Clay” Boynton is one of the many Wilmingtonians the Cape Fear Literacy Council helped learn to read.  It’s easy to take for granted that you can read this sentence. But for more than 500 students tutored by volunteer teachers at the Lower Cape Fear Literacy Council each year, reading a newspaper, or electric bill, or even the names of cities on highway signs can be a daily struggle. The literacy council will hold its annual gala fundraiser March 1, with this year’s theme based on the Jules Verne book “Around the World in 80 Days.”  Erin Payne, community outreach and volunteer management coordinator, said the gala, now in its 29th year, is responsible for fundraising up to 25 percent of the nonprofit organization’s annual budget. “For the past five or so years we’ve been doing it based on a based on a book — typically one that’s been turned into a movie, so it has broad appeal,” Payne said. “It’s quite an undertaking. We have over 20 live auction and over 100 silent auction items, along with casino games and dancing. Come at 6:30, leave at midnight and we’ll keep you hopping the whole time.” The council, in addition to providing free adult literacy classes, also teaches English for roughly 200 non-native English speakers each year, and other classes including basic computer skills and test taking. But for James Boynton, who goes by the nickname Clay, the adult literacy program has been the most life changing. Five years ago in Raleigh, after Boynton was laid off, a friend convinced him to restart his education at that city’s literacy council, where he stayed for a year before moving to Wilmington. Since arriving in the Port City, Boyton has continued his education, which ended just six months short of high school graduation.  “A lot of kids are scared to ask for help. When I was in school, reading out [loud] was my problem because kids would pick at you, but you come here and get that one-on-one that gives you courage to read out,” Boynton said, adding he was pushed through school because he was a natural athlete. “Back then, I don’t think there was enough time. I had to go to football practice; I had to go to track practice.” Boynton said he was surprised when instead of laughing at him when he struggled to read out loud, other students in his GED program at Cape Fear Community College were happy to help him through difficult passages. He now volunteers regularly in class, even helping the teacher explain math problems to other students. In addition to classes at CFCC and the council’s adult literacy program, Boynton also takes advantage of computer literacy classes offered by the organization, which will help prepare him when he takes the computer-based GED exam.  “I remember one time … my niece asking me to read to her, and I couldn’t do it,” he said. “I just kind of pushed her away.” Now he reads to her regularly, and is finally able to read the newspaper and fully understand his bills. “It really makes your life easier,” he said. “You can...

read more

Renovation of our Red Brick Building

Renovation of our Red Brick Building

  WE ARE “RAISING THE ROOF” AND WE NEED YOUR HELP! A few facts about Cape Fear Literacy Council’s Renovation of our Red Brick Building…. What is the purpose of our organization?  CFLC offers free educational services to more than 500 adult students annually with the contributions of over 200 volunteers who serve as one-on-one tutors and small class instructors. Hundreds of other volunteers serve as board and committee members and help with administrative and fundraising tasks. Tell me about the CFLC campus.  In our organization’s first 27 years, we provided our services in buildings generously donated by Wilmington Baptist Association, First Citizens Bank and Robert Bellamy. When we outgrew those    facilities in 1997, we purchased our “Bright Blue Building” on 17th Street. In 2009, CFLC purchased an adjacent  property – our “Red Brick Building.” With minor renovations, we repurposed that building as instructional and storage space. It has three classrooms and nearly 2,000 square feet of storage space. What is the purpose of the renovation of the Red Brick Building?  We need to expand the teaching space in our existing facility. We will do so by renovating the Red Brick Building. This renovation will increase our tutoring space by 75%. The estimated cost of this renovation is $175,000. Why are you expanding the tutoring facilities and realigning the administrative space?  The need for our services has grown so much over the past several years that currently our classrooms are overflowing. At times, our students must be relocated to other venues for the instruction they need because we do not have enough space. Please enjoy this short film about the renovation of CFLC’s Red Brick Building:...

read more

Opening Doors, Changing Lives

Opening Doors, Changing Lives

Olujimi Mookie Jumoke, who grew up in the Wilmington area, dropped out of school in the seventh grade due to problems with math and struggles with dyslexia and ADHD. Later, after being jailed for a drug-related offense, he worked toward earning his GED. Jumoke, whose mother taught him the importance of reading, passed four of the five GED test portions. But he failed the math section about five times. Every time I failed it was just like taking a piece out of me, Jumoke says. It was kind of just draining my hope. A woman at Cape Fear Community College, where the test was administered, witnessed his frustration and gave him contact information for the literacy council. Click here to read the full...

read more

CFLC Student Votes For the First Time at Age 65

CFLC Student Votes For the First Time at Age 65

Being able to read and write translates into the power to vote. At age 65, James Tremble is casting his ballot for the first time. Sara Wood of WHQR interviewed James and his tutor, Cathy Webb, about his experience with Cape Fear Literacy Council and his decision to vote for the first time. You can listen to the interview here. Please note: All news content contained on CFLC’s website (news articles, blogs, media coverage, etc.) is the sole responsibility of the contributing media outlet. Cape Fear Literacy Council thanks our media partners for their...

read more

James Was Called “Illiterate”

James Was Called “Illiterate”

(from Wilmington Star-News article “Journey to Literacy,” April 2008, written by Chris Mudarri) James had a boss who called him “illiterate.” First he got mad…then he got help. James J. Walton’s boss called him an illiterate idiot. Walton, who had been doing plumbing work for more than 27 years, knew more about the trade than most people he worked for. Yet he had been limited to the lowest job in the hierarchy because he could not read. Two decades had passed since his last attempt to improve his reading, interrupted by the overwhelming child care responsibilities of a single father. As far back as the fourth grade, Walton remembered, he’d had a problem, but they just passed him up to the next grade, even when he had straight Fs. He felt like hitting his boss with a shovel. Instead, Walton decided to try again. “You have to be able first to put pride aside,” he said, dark green copper-stained hands fingering his textbook. “Once you do, everything is possible.” Five years later, Walton earned his journeyman’s card. Now he works by himself and can supervise others, who, he said, he would not degrade in the way that boss did. Walton and his tutor, Bill Dungan, meet twice a week and have for 9 years. Walton turned out to be Dungan’s first and only student. It’s a commitment and friendship and true partnership. “One of my goals was to get my plumber’s license. I had to learn to read the code book before I could pass the test, which I did,” Walton said. It was a three-hour written exam. “It’s not in plain English, I might add.” Dungan said. Walton continues to move toward his next goal, to get his General Educational Development (GED) credential, certifying equivalency of a high school education. Until he does, some doors are still closed to him. Walton’s father is an example of how reading problems can change a life. A welder for more than 40 years, John S. Walton passed up a promotion to teach welding at the shipyard in Newport News, VA, mainly for that reason. “He quit and he came down here and went to work on construction. Just because he didn’t know how to read,” Walton said. His father died two weeks before he could see his son pass the journeyman’s test. “One thing I do regret a little bit is that I didn’t get a chance to pass my test and to show my dad my card before he passed away,” Walton...

read more