TRURO - Ann Marie Downie is leaving Literacy Nova Scotia knowing she has helped educate people throughout the province about the value of literacy.
Downie is a former resident of Truro who now lives in Sydney. She is leaving the Literacy Nova Scotia position of executive director after 14 years and wraps up June 29. One of her accomplishments is expanding people's knowledge of literacy.
"I don't think people understand that literacy is bigger than reading and writing. It's about having tools for every day, like helping kids, getting a job or reading a good book," said Downie. "But more people are learning that. They are learning that it's more than ‘oh, I can read.'"
The job also strengthened some of Downie's personal skills.
"It taught me about community and managing people. Working for a non-project
organization, you share the weight and work and it was fun to see people develop."
Downie actually came out of retirement for the job. She had lived in Truro and worked at the Department of Community Services in the 1980s for eight years. She then worked in Halifax through advanced education and labour and retired in the late 1990s, and by 1998 she was volunteering with Literacy Nova Scotia's board of directors and then became chairwoman for three terms. In 2002, Downie became executive director, a paid position which she has held until now through a satellite office in Sydney.
Downie said she'd love to visit Truro again some day.
"Truro has everything you want. It's close to the city, it's vibrancy I enjoyed and there are good people," she said.