Judy Lindstrom grew up in household that valued reading, with a father who gave his children new vocabulary words to learn every week and a mother who loved books. It’s not surprising, then, that when Judy received an invitation to support Oakland Literacy Council twenty years ago, she heartily agreed. She’s been helping the Council ever since, serving as president for the last 15 years.
“What keeps me going is our core mission of opening doors for people who have a hunger to read or to comprehend English,” Judy says.
She began her volunteering with the Council as a tutor, and even today she counts the success of her students as among her proudest moments. One of her former students, an immigrant from China, has gone on to become a physician’s assistant. Another, an autoworker who rarely ventured far from home because she couldn’t read street signs, eventually became such a good reader that she felt comfortable moving to a beautiful home in the suburbs.
In addition to tutoring, Judy shared so many ideas for improving the organization that she was asked to join what was then called the Friends of Oakland Literacy Council, an advisory group responsible for raising money for the Council. She has chaired the Council’s annual benefit dinner, Ex Libris, for many years.
As president of the board of directors, she steered the Council through the economic downtown of 2008-9. “We were very close to shuttering,” Judy says. “The board rallied together, and our supporters, tutors and students helped us get through that bleak period.”
She praises the board members as good-natured people with kind hearts who share a commitment to raising literacy levels in Oakland County.
“Judy has been the glue that has held the Council together through many transitions,” says Lisa Machesky, executive director. “Without Judy, we might not be here to celebrate our 35th anniversary.”