Charles Winstead was injured in the Army about 15 years ago, and he was forced to retire when his superiors realized he was not able to read. He then took on a job driving trucks, but because he could not read computer screens he could not continue that job either. Though it was challenging, he knew he had to learn to read; eight years ago he joined the literacy council. He has been diligent about improving his reading ever since and loves to work to help others find the joy of learning to read.
Winstead is on a fixed income and is raising two of his grandchildren, but he is volunteering with the Durham County Literacy Council. He provides the students, staff, board of directors, and volunteers with the motivation essential to overcoming illiteracy in Durham County and in the Triangle area. He also encourages contributions to the United Way and has spoken for at least 40 United Way presentations in the past one a half years. This has helped the Literacy Council to raise thousands of dollars.
Without his encouragement, dozens of students would never have attended their classes and many tutors would have never knows how vital their services are to the agency’s clientele. Winstead believe teaching people to read is helping to save their lives. He has worn many hats at the Literacy Council. He drives other literacy students to their classes, workshops, and training programs. He has served on the board of Directors and awards an annual volunteer award to students who have contributed to the Literacy Council. He helps to conduct workshops, recruits other literacy students as tutors, serves as a representative of the Literacy Council on local, state, and national levels, and provides regular office and clerical support to the Council’s staff.
Winstead has developed and still leads a student-writing group at the Literacy Council. In addition, he has helped organize a state literacy conference in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1997. This conference addressed the needs of literacy students through the collaboration of literacy providers and the students themselves. He was the first person to win the Literacy Council Student Volunteer Award, which were later named the Charles Winstead Outstanding Student Volunteer Award in his honor. He was also the first grandparent to attend the Literacy Council’s Family Literacy classes. Winstead also collaborates with other literacy agency partners to create a national awareness of literacy problems.