By: Jacque Daughtry In the Houston area, much of our normal life such as work, school, traffic patterns, church, a place to come home to… have been interrupted by Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. It has been a heartbreaking and rough time in Houston and south Texas since late August. But can you imagine how rough life is every day for the 1 out of 5 Houston area adults who are functionally illiterate? Or what a struggle it must be for 60% of sweet little 5-year-old Houston area Kindergarteners to start school and not be reading ready… they are behind before they even get started. Or what about 25% of Houston area 3rd graders who do not pass the state’s reading assessment (a very low bar)? All of these affect their ability to succeed in school and life. September is Literacy Awareness Month. Literacy: the ability to read and write proficiently. It is something that most of you reading this post takes for granted because you are literate, your children are literate, your co-workers are literate, and your friends are literate. Sadly, that’s not the reality for many of our fellow Houstonians both young and old. But there is something YOU can do to help change that. First, educate yourself on the literacy crisis in our city, and second, volunteer and/or donate to a Houston non-profit focused on combatting the crisis. At Literacy Now, we’d welcome the opportunity to educate you about our programs and help you get involved with closing the literacy gap for underserved and at-risk children. For nearly 11 years, we have been working to level the playing field for children from low socioeconomic status through our early intervention programs, along with leadership, life skills and parent-specific programming. These are all core tools for improving school readiness and social skills for at-risk children. For more information about Literacy Now and how you can help, please visit our website at www.literacynowhouston.org.