For Candy Geeter, the mission of Oakland Literacy Council is personal.
Growing up, her parents stressed the importance of education, which resulted in her passion to learn. She had witnessed how her father struggled with reading and the difficulty it presented in his everyday life.
“I didn’t understand how an adult could go through life and not know how to read,” she says. “My father was so smart, especially when it came to numbers. Unfortunately, like so many others, he hid the fact that he struggled with reading.”
Perhaps this was why her parents encouraged her and her sixteen siblings to further their education. Candy eventually earned a master’s degree in education, and she has spent the majority of her career at Oakland Community College, where she first learned about Oakland Literacy Council.
At the time, she worked in the office of then Chancellor Richard Thompson. “He was very passionate about Oakland Literacy, and it rubbed off on me,” she says.
“I love to read,” she adds. “I love to write. I can’t imagine someone not having that same opportunity. That’s why I believe in the mission of Oakland Literacy Council.”
When the opportunity came to join the Council’s board of directors in September 2016, Candy was delighted. She served on the board until early 2019, during which time she was impressed by the directors’ shared commitment to literacy. She recalls attending the annual international potluck, which brings tutors and students together to share food representing their nationalities. “To see everyone in the room was to see hope,” Candy says. “You had so many people who took time out of their schedules to help someone else have the same opportunities they did.”
As a board member, Candy served as a liaison between the Council and Oakland Community College, where many of Council students go to further their education after receiving tutoring from the Council. Candy also oversaw the Council’s participation in Bookstock, a large used book sale that is a significant annual fundraiser for the Council.
She still uses her creativity behind the scenes to support Council projects, and she continues to donate to the Council. “Donating is a way to let everyone know I still believe in the Council’s mission,” she says.