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Central Ohio organization improving literacy for people with disabilities

Through private tutoring sessions with trained reading professionals, the Adult Literacy Program helps participants work to improve their reading skills.

NEWARK, Ohio — Justice Wollenburg is 21 years old and learning to read. Like many other adults with disabilities, he hasn’t yet mastered basic reading skills. But he’s working on it, with a little help from the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio (DSACO).

The Adult Literacy Program is for adults with Down syndrome. Through private tutoring sessions with trained reading professionals the program helps participants, like Justice, work to improve their reading skills.

“The whole experience has just lifted his spirits so much and given him so much confidence,” said Justice's mother, Michelle Wollenburg.

Michelle said the program has given her son a sense of purpose after graduating high school and seeing his friends head off to college. Justice was depressed and feeling left behind. That’s when Michelle knew she had to find something for him to get involved with. She saw the Adult Literacy Program mentioned in a DSACO newsletter and thought to herself… this is it.

Credit: WBNS-10TV
10TV's Yolanda Harris with Justice Wollenburg

“All the rewards of him learning to read and being able to function at a higher level, you know, independently with the reading skills is icing on the cake,” Michelle said.

The ability to read is important for everyone. But for adults with disabilities, it can lead to increased independence, greater employment opportunities and a better quality of life.

Michelle, like any other mother, just wants the best for her child. When Justice began referring to his sessions in the Adult Literacy Program as his ‘college,’ Michelle knew she had chosen the right program for her son.

DSACO is gearing up for it’s annual “Buddy Walk Columbus” fundraiser Sunday, Oct. 2, at Fortress Obetz. Not only is it a time celebrate all the amazing individuals in the central Ohio community with Down syndrome, it’s also a time to raise money to fund the necessary programs DSACO provides for them, like the Adult Literacy Program.

Whether you have Down syndrome, know someone who does, or just want to show your support, you can click here to donate or to register for this year’s Buddy Walk.

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