The Cleveland Foundation recently commissioned a series of 17 portraits by local artist Billy Delfs of those who are making our region a better place. We call them Place.Makers—the people behind the buildings, programs and places who are making our community a better home for all.
Our Place.Makers blog series will highlight each of these individuals over the coming weeks.
First up, meet Margo Hudson.
Margo is an inspirational speaker, proud GED graduate, and tutor at Seeds of Literacy, a nonprofit that provides personalized education to empower adults to succeed in their communities, through free GED preparation, one-on-one tutoring, and individualized curriculum.
Margo earned her GED at age 52 after 11 years of studying and six attempts at taking the test. She dropped out of school in ninth grade, and spent decades working low-wage jobs in the cleaning and food industries, before finding herself cleaning planes at a rapid pace at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. The conditions were trying.
“I was in my 40s and thought, ‘I have to go back to school, I want a better life for myself,’” she said. Then she found Seeds of Literacy. “I finally took it seriously. I didn’t want to run around cleaning planes all day. I studied on my lunch break, waiting for my ride home, at the doctor’s office, on the bus, on the train. I made time for it because I wanted it. And that’s what I tell my students. They can too,” she said.
Since earning her GED, a new world has opened up for Margo. “I have more confidence, more self-esteem. I read more books now. I am learning things I’ve always wanted to learn, like making candy, knitting and the keyboard. The accolades I’ve received, the chance to talk out in the community– it was all foreign to me before.”
Margo was awarded the national Adult Learner of the Year Award in 2016, received Governor Kasich’s Governor’s Courage Award in 2016, was included as one of Cleveland Magazine’s Most Interesting People in 2017, and recited the Pledge of Allegianceat the Republican National Convention.
And, she still gives back as a tutor at Seeds of Literacy, helping current students with math and reading skills. With 66% of Cleveland adults functionally illiterate, Margo and other volunteers and providers are working to combat illiteracy and empower more adults to succeed. To sign up to be a tutor at Seeds of Literacy, click here. Do you, or does someone you know, struggle with reading or writing? Get help here.
Please stay tuned for more profiles in our Place.Maker series!