(PRWEB) November 15, 2004
More than 5% of the United States population (ages 15 and up) are illiterate or functionally illiterate (data taken from UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) May 2004 Assessment). Barriers created by illiteracy reach beyond the individual, family and community levels; they impact entire countries. In Indonesia someone with tertiary education earns an average of 82% more than a person with only secondary education. In Paraguay the difference jumps to more than 250%. In the United States according to the National Literacy Forum as of 1997 high school graduates earn 42% more than the average high school drop-out with college graduates earning substantially more than drop-outs or those who only have high school credentials. The impact of illiteracy does not end there. Seven in ten prisoners perform at the lowest two literacy levels. Illiteracy cannot be ignored. It impacts individual self-esteem and national economies.
Denise Turney, author of the compelling book Spiral and the novels Portia and Love Has Many Faces is actively working to improve literacy rates. She single-handedly funds the Chistell Annual Writing Contest. ÂThe Chistell Annual Writing Contest is in its fifth year. People from around the world have entered the contest since it began. The ability to tell a powerful story and express oneself is what the contest focuses on. Anyone over the age of 18 can enter the contest through our website at http://www.chistell.com,Â Turney states. ÂFrom relationships to business to sports to the fulfillment of personal goals and dreams, the ability to communicate is key. Oddly, these very skills are often taken for granted unless they are missing or are lost. Imagine losing your voice and no longer being able to speak. That is what it is like to enter the world of illiteracy,Â Turney goes on to say. ÂAdd to that the fact that many people are illiterate because their parents were illiterate because their parentsÂ parents were illiterate and itÂs easy to see the workings of the viscious cycle.Â Turney says. ÂI am committed to helping those who lack literacy skills gain them,Â Turney adds. ÂOur annual contest is one way to help encourage people to value literacy. As in the past, it is absolutely free to enter the contest.Â
ABOUT DENISE TURNEY
Denise Turney is the author of the books Portia, Love Has Many Faces, and Spiral (her new release). She served on active duty in the United States Navy where she earned two Navy Achievement Medals. She is a former Big Brothers/Big Sisters Volunteer and works or has worked with the National Youth Leadership Coalition, No Longer Bound (a drug and alcohol prevention agency in Bucks County, Pennsylvania) and Saturday Scholars (a military literacy program). Turney also host her own literary radio program ÂOff The ShelfÂ at http://www.blakeradio.com where she focuses on the importance and the value of literacy. Her work is featured online at http://www.chistell.com.
Contact: Rhonda Campbell
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