Imagine being unable to read your child’s report card, fill out a job application, read a bus schedule, or vote. For most of us, it is almost impossible to picture what it would be like to go through life unable to read or even to tell time. It is a sad fact that many in our community, working and raising families, carefully keep the secret that they cannot read. It could be anyone — perhaps someone you know.
Fortunately, volunteers like Linda Solin are there to help. A Santa Barbara Public Library Adult Literacy Program volunteer tutor, she devotes several hours every week helping adults learn to read.
Solin is used to challenges: She began her volunteer career in her teens in the surgical ward of a children’s hospital, helping to change burned children’s bandages. She enjoyed her hospital work but always dreamed of being a teacher.
After attending UC Santa Barbara, she worked in bilingual education in Bakersfield, later moving back to Santa Barbara, where she taught kindergarten and first grade for the next 30 years. Retirement opened new possibilities. A friend recommended the tutoring program and, before she knew it, she was matched with “José” (not his real name).