Remarkable Women: Ruth Colvin

Local News

(WSYR-TV) — During the month of March, NewsChannel 9 is highlighting remarkable women in the Central New York community nominated by you, the viewers.

Our top four finalists will be highlighted each week. The first is a serious trailblazer named Ruth Colvin.

“Age is just a number. It’s what you do with that number that is important,” says Colvin.

From how she lives to what she eats, you can credit her longevity to living a balanced life.

“I look at myself like a car. You can have the best car in the world — best tires, best motor — but if you don’t put gas in it, it’s no good,” Colvin explains.

Colvin is known for starting 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, Colvin has taught literacy training in 62 countries including many developing countries.

Documenting her remarkable journey, Colvin penned in her 12th book. A memoir.

“I’ve written a lot of books on literacy and the other things I do and they wanted this and I said, ‘No. Who would want to hear about this old lady?‘ So they talked me into it.”

In her latest publication, Colvin shares her successes and failures, saying she’s learned from both. “If you do nothing, you won’t ever make a mistake but you wouldn’t have done anything.”

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 were actually blessings in disguise.

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