Fran Miller became active as a volunteer with the Volusia Literacy Council (VLC) in 1993. Her first student was involved in a workplace literacy program, in which the employer allowed the student to remain “on the clock” while spending some time each workday learning to read and write. Miller went to the factory everyday from 1993- 1998. During this time, the student progressed from a pre-kindergarten level to about a fifth grade reading level.
In 1996, Miller became aware of the problems facing the non-English speaking residents of West Volusia County, specifically the Pierson, Seville and Barberville areas. She approached the VLC about volunteering to teach English to these individuals and the program was launched. Initially, she would hold one three-hour class on Monday evening and would maybe have one or two students.
With the growth and need for the program, Miller realized she could not do it by herself, and has recruited several volunteers to assist her with one on one and small group instruction.
Because of her love to teach and her awareness of a need, she continues today, to drive from her home in Ormond Beach to Pierson twice weekly, including holidays. To quote Miller, “Even if just one student shows up, it’s worth the drive.” Rarely, however, is that the case these days. Through her devotion and generosity towards the non-English speaking students, her class enrollment has gone from 1-2 students to 14-16.
Through Miller’s dedication, the residents of West Volusia who have participated in her program have become more involved in their children’s school, developed better parenting skills, raised their self-esteem. Several have even gone on to obtain their U. S. Citizenship.
Miller has proved to be tireless in her desire to keep the program going. She saw a need, asked if she could help, and “ran with the ball”.