Durham Literacy Center is campaigning for your vote in a non-profit contest

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A minor leak turned into a major problem at the nin-profit that helps teach people to read.

Twenty percent of Durham residents do not have basic literacy skills to function in the community or at work.

The Durham Literacy Center is trying to do something about that.

Volunteers at the center have been teaching adults and teens how to read and write for 30 years. They help people learn English and get their GED.

Bob Breitweiser is one of those volunteers, He has taught English, adult literacy, and math.

"They have students who are in their 50s and 60s who've never really learned how to read," Breitweiser said. "Some of them just want to read to their grandchildren."

Not knowing how to read or write can make the world a scary place, and for many, one filled with shame and embarrassment. The volunteers try to give students confidence.

"Students come to us because they need help and it's a real community feeling," said Center Executive Director Lizzie Ellis-Furlong. "It's a very family-like environment and so we know it's a very secure and comfortable place."

But this week, that security and comfort came crashing down -- through the ceiling.

The center posted this message to Facebook:



The center's ceiling has leaked before, but nothing like this.

"There were literally hundreds of gallons pouring through the light fixture into the classroom," Ellis-Furlong said.

The leak is dried up, but the damage done. Permanent repairs will be in the thousands.

"The guy from the roofing company came and told me he didn't know how much it would cost, but it would be significant. And that's when my heart sank," she said.

It just so happens, the Durham Literacy Center is up for a Yelp Foundation Gives Local award. The non-profit with the most votes, wins $5,000. Second and third places get $3,000 and $2,000 respectively.

Here's a link for you to vote: http://www.yfgiveslocal.org/nc-raleigh-durham/

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