Teri Vance: Literacy volunteers in need of funds

Jason Gardner competes in the newspaper toss during the End of Bike Week Party on Friday evening in McFadden Plaza.

Jason Gardner competes in the newspaper toss during the End of Bike Week Party on Friday evening in McFadden Plaza.

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Garrett Nussbaumer, who turns 17 on Monday, is hoping to get accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy.

“That’s my first pick,” he said. “But I would take any military academy. They offer such a great education and great opportunities.”

He’s taking honors classes — including honors English — and maintaining a close to A average, earning straight As for the first time last semester.

While he sounds like the typical high-achieving student, the Carson High School junior wasn’t always on this track.

In his early school years Garrett excelled at math, but struggled with reading.

In the third grade, he was moved into the reading group with the first-graders.

“He was mortified,” his mom, Carol, recalled. “He started to lose his confidence.”

That’s when Carol found Carson City Literacy Volunteers, and realized Garrett suffered from dyslexia.

“He had learned to just guess,” Carol said.

Garrett explains when he reads a sentence like, “The cat is happy,” he sees, “cat happy.”

Garrett was tutored in the Barton System from third through sixth grades.

“I just learned little tricks,” he said. “I’m still not perfect in it, but I understand certain things are happening in my brain.”

Carol, who has served on the board of directors for Carson City Literacy Volunteers for the past seven years, is hoping the service can continue for future children in need.

“I think it’s huge that it keeps going,” she said. “The service is unbelievable, and a lot of people wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise.”

The program charges a one-time $25 fee, but is willing to waive it if the person can’t afford it.

All tutors are volunteers.

However, Carol said, the nonprofit organization is struggling to pay its more than $700 monthly fees for rent, utilities and other costs.

She’s hoping the community will step in with donations or even fundraising ideas to keep the organization afloat.

“We are looking for ideas and consultations,” Carol said.

Garrett said the tutoring was essential for his success.

“Because of my future path, which is hopefully the Naval Academy, my testing scores and my grades needed to be on point,” he said. “No way I would have been able to do it.”

Carol said it has to be a team effort.

“The parent has to buy in,” she said. “If you don’t consistently go, you won’t get where you need to be. They’re going to see huge successes if people are willing to put in the time and effort.”

The program gives participants tools to adapt for their disabilities. Garrett said he suspects he would be in remedial English classes without it.

“I would not be where I am today without the Literacy Volunteers,” he said.

Carol agreed.

“I could go on for days how beneficial this has been for us,” she said.


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