Ruth Colvin is a living legend who calls Central New York home.
She began a volunteer literacy program when she had no experience as a teacher or nonprofit leader, which she eventually turned into Literacy Volunteers of America, now one of the largest adult literacy programs in the world. Through that, Ruth has taught literacy training in 62 countries including many developing countries.
Ruth is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the President’s Volunteer Action Award, and is also a member of the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Now, at 103 years young, she’s just penned a memoir titled My Travels Through Life, Love, and Literacy – A Journey Over One Hundred Years In The Making.
“As you look back, it’s amazing the things that have happened in your past and made you the person that you are” says Ruth.
In the book, she recounts her childhood in Chicago, meeting her husband Bob, and how she began the volunteer literacy program. She details some of her international travels and writes about the experiences and people that have shaped her life. She also shares how things that seemed like disasters at the time where actually blessings in disguise.
“I’m very thankful” Ruth adds. “I count my blessings and I’m sure in all of my experiences you’ll laugh at some of them and you’ll say ‘that crazy lady!’ but I learned from my mistakes and I’m very grateful for my friends, my family, and my strong mind.”
Click here to purchase Ruth’s book. It’s also available now at the Onondaga Historical Association.