Gibson stepping down at Literacy Volunteers

PORT HENRY - After over a decade as the head of Literacy Volunteers, director Charlie Gibson will be moving on.

Gibson, who will step down at the start of 2011, said he is doing so in order to move closer to family.

"It's a difficult decision," Gibson said. "I have been here for over 10 years, but we have decided to move to Oregon so we can be closer to our family. It's kind of a life change, but I leave knowing that this is a great opportunity and a great chance for the right person to come into this position."

Gibson said he is pleased with the work that Literacy Volunteers of Essex and Franklin Counties has done while he has been the director, including the combination of the two counties.

"That is one of the first things that we did when I got here in 2001," Gibson said. "The ability to combine with Franklin County made it easier to get materials that we needed and to do our reporting to the state. It made everything a little more stream-lined for the delivery of our services."

Gibson said he was also happy with the variety of programs that Literacy Volunteers have been able to offer, including special events like the annual spelling bee in Saranac Lake and the Scrabble tournaments that are held throughout their coverage area.

"We have increased the number of events and we have been able to help more and more people ever year," Gibson said. "These are all events that help keep us in the community eye and help recruit tutors and stress the importance of what we do."

Gibson said another way that the organization has been able to showcase their people is through the annual dinner.

"I am very proud of our annual dinner," he said. "That's an event where we have the tutors and the students come to Lake Placid and have a night to recognize them and their accomplishments. We award our tutor and our student of the year, and just have a great evening. We had over 70 people at the one this year, and it is just a good event to recognize everyone for all that they have done and just have a good time."

At the core, though, Gibson said the work could not be done without the volunteers who serve as tutors and mentors.

"They are the organization," he said. "Without them, there would be no organization. I just want to thank them so much for their time that they give because these days, time is a valuable thing.

"It's the greatest thing and the highest calling to help someone grow, and that is what these people do," continued Gibson.

Literacy Volunteers is currently seeking applications and resumes for Gibson's replacement.

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