Chattanooga Goodwill employee Robert Groves can hardly contain his enthusiasm about his newly-honed skill of reading. Even at the age of 47, he said, reading was something he longed to do. It took a little doing, but in July 2017, Robert got his wish. Chattanooga Goodwill started an adult reading class at its Dodds Avenue facilities, and Robert joined in wholeheartedly.

Betty Benson, who had taught literacy classes at Chattanooga State Community College and had held reading classes at Goodwill in the past, is the teacher of the class that now has six students. All of the students, like Robert, are Goodwill employees, but the class is open to the public.

Ms. Benson starts the students at a very basic level and builds from there. Robert, she said, actually had some reading ability but needed some confidence and comprehension help, and he has made good progress since attending the class.  “He loves to look things up to find answers” to questions she gives the students as homework. She asked them recently to tell her, ‘Who is the Mickey Mouse man?’ Robert was the only student in the class who correctly looked for and learned it was Walt Disney.

Robert recently shared his enthusiasm and appreciation with the Goodwill Board of Directors. “I told them it was amazing what Goodwill has done for so many people, including myself,” he said. “I couldn’t thank them enough. This is making doors open for me.”

Those at the meeting were so moved that they gave him a standing ovation.

Robert tried out his abilities for the first time at his church in Rock Springs, GA. “I read aloud two lines, and I was able to get every word right – no misses,” he said. “To me, that was very exciting.”

The reading class meets every Wednesday from 2:30 pm to 4 pm. at the main Goodwill office, 3500 Dodds Avenue, Chattanooga. The class is open to public, and interested students need only show up to participate. Walk-ins are welcome!