Friday, July 11, 2014

Introduction - About Dorothy Young

Education and Career
Dorothy waited until her three kids were older before beginning her college education, which culminated in a PhD in Education from St Louis University.  She taught in the Education Department at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville for five years. Then her career swerved from education to entrepreneurship when she established a sales agency for educational materials.  Initially, the materials were books, maps, globes and laser discs but soon morphed almost entirely into instructional software. Dorothy's specialty was reading software.

When Dorothy and I met in '99 after losing our spouses a couple of years earlier, I learned that her dream was to retire someday and tutor kids.  So, about six years ago, indeed, she wound down her agency and chartered a non-profit called "Reading Success Center". She spent three years developing a model at the Boys and Girls Club in St Peters that could be successfully duplicated and turn-keyed.  Now she spends most of her time finding and vetting new reading remediation sites then training site directors and volunteer tutors.  Her love of teaching nevertheless keeps her in the classroom as site director in hometown Collinsville. 

As of mid-2014, the RSC has helped half dozen non-profits establish their own independent centers -- such places as the Boys and Girls Club in St Charles, Slay Boys Club and Mathew-Dickey Boys Club in St Louis, Christian Activities Center in East St Louis and St Johns Evangelical UCC Church in Collinsville (sponsored by the Women's Club of Collinsville)
 in addition to the original St Peters location.  Using virtual software simultaneously for most of the centers, hundreds of under-achieving readers are now being tutored daily year-round, mostly kids in K thru 4.  The need for reading instruction is immeasurable, particularly among the economically challenged and among the growing number of special students (think autism, ADHD and dyslexia) whose needs are not well met in the traditional school setting. At the time of this writing, Dorothy and her Board had several additional centers on the drawing board and were making long range plans for more software licenses and many more centers throughout the St Louis area.  

Do-It-Yourselfer and Gardener
Unfortunately, all this activity leaves Dottie with little time or mind space for building a house, including blogging about it.  Over the years as a single-parent rental property owner, she developed many handy-person skills that would be useful for our project but, be that as it may, she feels that is best to opt out of the building project so she can use her real talent in the service of needy kids. 

However, Dorothy does carve out time for a parallel passion -- gardening.  She has been gardening since her childhood in rural Horse Prairie (a crossroads near Redbud, IL).  As detailed in the post about Dorothy's garden, she still makes time for vegetable a gardening on a large scale and more recently landscaping with native plants.  

Update September 2015
Since the original post, Dottie has branched out.  She has been instrumental in the formation of a 501c3 for a loosely affiliated group of African Americans in St Louis who came to this country a few decades back as sponsored refugees from war- and apartheid-torn countries in Africa.  When one of the refugees faced prostate cancer on limited resources, Dottie guided him to proper treatment.  When the same individual formed an Advisory Board for taking an invention to market, he tapped Dottie as a member.  

We have been long-time members of the  St Louis chapter of Wild Ones, a national organization that advocates for landscaping with native plants and eradicating invasives. When the STL chapter membership grew to an unworkable number and a few members lived east of the Mississippi River in Illinois, Dorothy and I volunteered to start a new Metro-East chapter.  But, guess what, it was Dottie that got'er done. At the time of this writing, we are 20+ members strong and celebrated our first anniversary in August, 2015.

I have always said that Dottie was not hyperactive but she is not normal either!

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