Michelle Desveaux McLean
Our five kids had all grown and flown, the youngest just starting high school in 2020. I was at the place that many middle-aged women get to where they have a moment to consider what they want to do for the rest of their life.
Although I had run a small business and done a bit of consulting work, I really wanted to get back into the workforce. Unfortunately, years of volunteer work and running your own business don’t seem to be good qualifications and I couldn’t seem to get an interview anywhere. I started to think that my opportunity to do meaningful work has passed. So, I focused on volunteering in causes that were important to me, one of them being literacy.
I trained with the Literacy Council of Sarasota to be an adult literacy tutor and was matched with another woman my age, Maria. Maria and I have been working together to improve her conversational skills and now working on passing the Citizenship Test. It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and Maria and I have become great friends through the process.
That volunteering lead me to help out in a Conversational English skills class, which lead me to get a job with the Manatee Literacy Council as Executive Director. I can honestly say that this position is everything that I prayed for in a job. I get to work with amazing learners and volunteers to improve literacy skills in our community. We’ve been able to make amazing gains, even throughout the pandemic, and I feel that I am really doing something that makes a difference. I’m so grateful for the work that we do here at the Manatee Literacy Council and thankful to the Literacy Council of Sarasota for giving me the hand up that I make a difference in my life as well as the lives of others!