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!

Pass It On®

Watch Alferd Williams and Alesia Hamilton tell their story about how Alferd learned how to read at age 70.

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Your Comments

wow im proud of him
hayley 2 months ago from 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 2 months ago from 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 2 months ago from Barre, MA

good Job man
riley clayton robinson 3 months ago from Walnut, Ms

Great Work
Riley Robinson 3 months ago from Walnut School

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