CLEVELAND -- If you meet 10 Cleveland residents today chances are at least six of them will be functionally illiterate.
That number could go up to nine depending on the neighborhood.
These statistics come from Seeds of Literacy, a local non-profit organization that provides free basic education and GED preparation to adults in the Cleveland area.
According to research listed on the organization’s site, 66 percent of Cleveland residents ages 16 and older are functionally illiterate. Some neighborhoods, like the Kinsman area on Cleveland’s east side, have a functional illiteracy rate as high as 95 percent.
Seeds of Literacy defines functional illiteracy as having math, reading or language skills below a 4th grade level.
The organization claims to help more than 900 adult students a year.
In 2005, 45-year-old Margo Hudson of Cleveland decided to be one of those students. She turned to Seeds of Literacy for help in earning a GED.
Hudson dropped out of high school before the age of 16 due to turmoil in the home.
“I took the GED test six times before I passed it,” Hudson says. “I really wanted this GED and I wasn’t going to give up.”
Hudson reached her goal in 2012. She now faithfully serves as a tutor at the west side location of Seeds of Literacy on her days off. She specializes in fractions.
“Seeds of Literacy was there for me, and I want to help to pass it on."
“She makes me feel comfortable ... and that’s why I come every day,” Seeds' student DeMorris Andrews said. “I can accomplish this GED.”
Watch Margo Hudson’s Rising story to find out how Seeds of Literacy opened doors for the now 57-year-old who once thought she had nothing to offer.