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ProLiteracy Worldwide

ProLiteracy Worldwide provides a network that helps adults and their families gain the literacy skills necessary to effectively live and work in society. In the U.S., an estimated 40 million adults are functionally illiterate, unable to fulfill simple tasks such as reading maps and completing basic forms. But every day, over 130,000 volunteers are helping them out of the darkness. Since 1995, donors have made possible the distribution of $1.9 million worth of books and literacy materials to 927 family literacy and English-as-a-second-language programs. Over 1,200 affiliates in all 50 states advocate for the needs of those who cannot read. This group relies mostly on generous individuals, corporations, and community groups.


ProLiteracy Worldwide

1320 Jamesville Avenue

Syracuse, NY 13210


Telephone: (888) 528-2224

FAX: (315) 422-6369

From Passionaries... The Millionaire�s Secret

Tom Harken, Literacy Volunteers of America

“Take one look at fun-loving Texas millionaire Tom Harken and it's tough to believe he's ever had any agonizing secrets. This Air Force soldier turned vacuum-cleaner salesman turned chairman of the board appears to have sailed through life with a smile on his face and a beautiful, compassionate wife on his arm. His is a blend of Michigan ease and Texan charm.


But life wasn't always easy for Tom. As a child, he fought for survival against polio and tuberculosis, spending almost his entire eleventh year isolated in an iron lung. He missed so much school that when he finally did get back into the classroom, Tom felt humiliated about being so far behind. So after only two weeks in the seventh grade, he dropped out and went straight to work as a stock-boy in his father’s small store. "Dad always said I'd make it because I was a hard worker," Tom said. "If God had made eight-day weeks, I'd work eight days." And figuratively, he did…”