For many, one of the joys of the holiday season was reading a Christmas story to little ones.
But for many here in Niagara County, reading is still an obstacle that can keep that joy from becoming a reality. The county still has an illiteracy rate of more than 12 percent.
Susan Shaft (pictured at right) of Literacy New York Buffalo-Niagara helps adults who fell through the cracks and she does so from her office inside the Lockport Library.
All tutoring is free, thanks to state grants, but financing continues to dwindling. The organization is relying more on sponsors and fundraisers, and of course, its volunteers.
Shaft said there are plenty of reasons people reach out, and the circumstances can often add more obstacles.
"It's a heartwarming job to be able to help people, but it's tough to hear there stories. Because there usually more going on than them just not being able to read," Shaft said. "There's substance abuse, domestic abuse, poverty. When they come to the office and say they want to change their life, then sometimes I never see that person again because they feel it's too hard."
For more information, call Literacy New York Buffalo-Niagara at 433-7014 in Lockport or in the Niagara Falls office at 299-0916.