Guests attend the Spotlight Dinner on Literacy on Friday, April 29 (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

The Mid-Valley Literacy Center held its eighth annual Spotlight Dinner on Literacy on April 29. The event was held at Roth's West Salem Hospitality Center. Guests enjoyed a delicious dinner and perused silent auction items.  

The center’s executive director, Vivian Ang, shared her personal story. She struggled with reading and had a teacher tell her she “wasn’t going to make it in college.” She overcame that challenge and went ahead to succeed, not only in college but in life. Today her nonprofit has trained 782 tutors who have worked with over 4,000 students. These adults improve English language skills, achieve US citizenship, use computers, and earn their GED.

The event raised $34,200 toward the center's programs, Ang said.

Emcee Brian Boyer worked to engage the crowd with a live auction and a lively game of heads and tails. Winners took home a copy of Dave Johnson’s book, “Aim High.”

Johnson received the 2022 Literacy Trailblazer Award. An athlete and author, Johnson is an Olympian who broke Caitlyn Jenner’s record in the decathlon. He told his story of triumph and faith in the 1982 games. He won the bronze Olympic medal even though he had a broken foot.  Occasionally, he said, he still catches up with Jenner, reliving their Olympic experiences.

Michael Fowler, owner of CabDoor, a cabinet door service, shared the value of the nonprofit to his company. He encourages his employees to take classes at the center and improve their English and computer skills.

Student testimonial videos had many people in tears as they talked about their journey to become more proficient in English or obtain their GED.

The Mid-Valley Literacy Center’s mission is to empower adults with literacy skills needed to increase their economic stability and overall quality of life. They are located at 1850 45th Ave NE in Salem. You can reach them by calling 503-463-1488, www.midvalleyliteracycenter.org.

Brian Boyer warms up guests at the Spotlight Dinner on Literacy on Friday, April 29 (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Vivian Ang and Dave Johnson at the Spotlight Dinner on Literacy on Friday, April 29 (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Guests play Heads and Tails at the Spotlight Dinner on Literacy on Friday, April 29 (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Executive Director of the Mid-Valley Literacy Center, Vivian Ang (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Susanna and Kevin Mannix attend the Spotlight Dinner on Literacy on Friday, April 29 (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Mary Louise VanNatta is a Salem public relations professional writing regularly for Salem Reporter. Reach her at [email protected] and follow her on Facebook.

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