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Departing literacy director praised

Dona Douglass, executive director of the Literacy Council (left), receives a goodbye hug from Lesley Levine, a board member of the literacy council. Sarah Grano / LTN Photo

The Lincoln County Literacy Council had to bid farewell to its executive director on Friday.
“You’ve just done a wonderful job,” said Dean Lutz, president of the literacy council board of directors.
“You’ve certainly made an impact, and everything you’ve done, you’ve done at 100 percent and 100 miles per hour.”
Dona Douglass has worked as executive director of the literacy council since July.
“In the nine months she’s been here, she’s done the work of two years,” said Lesley Levine, a member of the literacy board. “She’s just been so enthusiastic. The enthusiasm has been there since day one.”
Douglass is leaving her job to be with her fiancee, a minister, in Madison.
“I do want to live my life for God, and I think this is one good way to do it,” said Douglass.
The decision to leave was not an easy one for Douglass. She had grown to love her job and the Lincolnton community.
“I am 53 years old, and I’ve had lots of jobs,” said Douglass. “This was the best job I had, and it filled my whole heart and soul.”
Douglas is most proud of organizing a multicultural study group which helps people learn both Spanish and English.
It also teaches Hispanic people, both documented and undocumented, about rights and opportunities available to them.
She has made personal connections with many of the people in the community who work with her.
After hearing Douglass was leaving, one 74-year-old woman walked from her home to the literacy council to give Douglass a present —another reason to shed some tears.
“I’ve cried forever because I’ll miss my home and my family and my job,” said Douglass.
“This is the first week I haven’t cried everyday, but I’ve been catatonic.”
Douglass hopes to work as a community college teacher in her new home. Before working with the literacy council, Douglass taught special needs children.
The opportunity to work one-on-one with people is part of the reason Douglass took the job of executive director in the first place.
“You definitely see the rewards of your efforts,” said Douglass. “It’s like opium. You see someone get it, and how happy they are to get it, and it just feeds you.”
Douglass leaves behind an active multicultural group and a storytelling circle that meets at Byrd’s Sundries.
The literacy council’s next executive director will have his or her hands full.“Replacing her will be a really hard job,” said Levine. by Sarah Grano

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