Pass It On®

Williams billboard

It’s never too late to learn.” Alferd Williams

About This Billboard

Alferd Williams was born in 1937 in Eudora, Arkansas, one of nine children in his family. When he was a boy, his parents, who worked as sharecroppers, could not afford for both Alferd and his twin brother to be gone all day to school. In order for both boys to get some education, Alferd’s mother devised a plan to alternate days where one twin would go to school while the other stayed home to help on the farm. However, Alferd’s twin would often rise early and sneak away to school, leaving Alferd to work long days on the farm throughout his school years. As a result, Alferd never learned to read.

Many decades later, Alferd, then a resident of Saint Joseph, Missouri, began to help a single mother by walking her three children to and from school. The 68-year-old Alferd acted as a parent to the children and helped care for them every afternoon. What he could not help them with, however, was their homework.

When Alesia Hamilton, the first-grade teacher of one of the children, discovered that Alferd could not read the notes she had been sending home with the children, she began to teach him how to read. In the fall of 2006, Alferd enrolled as a first-grade student.

After completing the first grade, Alferd chose to stay in Alesia’s class and continue to learn with the new first-graders. Alesia encouraged Alferd’s passion for reading and, eventually, for teaching children to read. In fact, parents said their children would come home excited, with stories about how Alferd had helped them learn to read.

Alferd is still in Alesia’s class, where he plans to stay until he completes his GED. Literacy has changed his life and opened a world of opportunities. His story shows us that it is never too late to begin.

Literacy. Pass It On!

This billboard about Literacy features Alferd Williams.

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Pass It On®


so inspiring, love it <3
lesly, denver, colorado

WOOOHOOOO!! Congrats.
Jessica , Denver, Colorado

I've been an adult literacy tutor for 10 years. I've learnt more from my students than they could ever possibly learn from me. Rock on literacy.
Diane, Dublin, Ireland

I agree - it is never too late to learn. Even when we are elderly, we still keep learning something that is brand-new every day... :)

RIP I love you uncle!

This was my grandpa. He passed away yesterday. He inspired me that it's never too late to reach your goals in life. My family and I have truly lost a treasure. His aspirations and dreams will live on in his kids, grand kids, and great grand kids. We love you grandpa!

This is what living is all about and this video really set my tone for the day, Thank you.
Mr.Kristian, Fishers, IN

It really is never to late to learn. Even though your old, it doesn't mean you can't be as smart as the others.
Reyna , Rowland Heights,CA

Such an inspiring story. Congratulations to the teacher who was willing to assist him. Hope it will be an inspiration for others. It is never too late to achieve your goals.
Esther Stewart, Trinidad

wow im proud of him
hayley, washington

I want to teach an adult how to read, as a volunteer. Where can I go to find a chance to do this?
Sally Fisher, New York City

Love this story. SO inspiring! Saw the billboard last week and had to learn more about Alferd's story. Thanks for sharing, and thanks to The Foundation for a Better Life being a big part of making me a person, husband, and father to be! God bless you!
Joe Dapper, Barre, MA

good Job man
riley clayton robinson, Walnut, Ms

Great Work
Riley Robinson, Walnut School

From a grammatical standpoint, the billboard should read something like: "He couldn't read this book, until age 70." The phrase 'Until 70.' is not a complete sentence.
John, Indianapolis

What a wonderful story! As a teacher, I know how Ms. Hamilton must feel being able to teach a wonderful person like Alferd, and I hope to have dedicated students like him in my classroom. Simply wonderful!
Brittany, Lexington, KY

I thought that this story was very touching. It is amazing that you tried so hard and then succeeded in what you wanted!
Courtnee, Oregon

mona moussa, egypt

i showed this video to a 50 year old African American who did not read, he was so inspired that he actually signed up for an adult literacy program, Thank Values for putting Alfred on the site, it has changed this mans life, he has hopes and dreams and stated this can open up so many doors for him
Thomas, Fridley MN

Alferd WIlliams is such an inspiring person. He tells us never to give up, no matter how old you are. He's told us that people love you even when you're not the same. Thank you, Alferd. You're inspiring us all.
Holly, Hopkins, MN