Women In Leadership-Susan Shaft

October 29, 2012 Updated Oct 29, 2012 at 11:40 PM EDT

By WKBW News

October 29, 2012 Updated Oct 29, 2012 at 11:40 PM EDT

It's a little known fact: millions of people across New York can't read or write. October's Women in Leadership honoree is helping to change that in the Buffalo-Niagara region.

Eyewitness News is partnering with the Buffalo - Niagara Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners on these monthly reports.

Susan Shaft is changing lives for the better and that's why she was chosen to be part of our Women in Leadership series. Here's Eyewitness News Anchor Joanna Pasceri.

Reading a good book is a joy for most people, but for more than two million others in New York State, it's a struggle.

Susan Shaft of Literacy New York Buffalo-Niagara helps adults who somehow fell through the cracks learn to read and write.

Literacy New York Buffalo-Niagara is helping some 300 adults and 100 students in Erie County improve their reading and writing skills with help from volunteers who work with them once a week. Shaft says demand is up since the economy went down.

All tutoring is free, thanks to state grants, but Shaft says that financing is dwindling. The organization is relying more on sponsors and fundraisers, and of course, its volunteers.

Anyone with a high school diploma, who takes a 12-hour training course, can tutor, but Literacy New York has a lot of retired teachers lending their talents.

For more information, call Literacy New York Buffalo-Niagara at 876-8991 or go www.literacybuffalo.org.