Community Builder: Eau Claire couple helps students overcome obstacles

Community Builder: Eau Claire couple helps students overcome obstacles

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - According to published statistics, dyslexia affects one in five children. It's a stat one Midlands woman is working daily to change, and her efforts are one of many reasons why she and her husband are our latest Community Builder in partnership with Mungo Homes.

For nearly two decades, Tracey Ely has worked to help struggling readers in the Eau Claire area.

"I've seen so many children overcome reading failure through this method that I advocate for kids all the time," said Ely.

So much so that she started Tutor Eau Claire. It's currently housed in space donated by Eau Claire Presbyterian Church. Tutors at Tutor Eau Claire work with students through the Orton-Gillingham Approach to reading. Tracey works full-time without being paid a dime, making it her mission to help people with dyslexia.

"To me, it's one of the most important things we can do because one in five children will struggle," said Ely. "Without intervention, they will either barely graduate or drop out and not achieve their dreams because they become discouraged with the reading part."

Her encouraging and giving spirit is just one of many reasons those who know her nominated Tracey and her husband, Dr. Bert Ely, as Community Builders. Dr. Ely is a Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina.

"The same work that Mrs. Tracey does here with our K-12 learners, Dr. Ely does for individuals who are ready to go into graduate school or are considering graduate school, but may not think that they're actually prepared," said Dr. Regina Wragg, who nominated the Elys. "So he runs mentoring programs that particularly serve those who are marginalized or underrepresented in the sciences and engineering."

The Elys are also actively involved in their church and help run a local food pantry.

"When we think about individuals who idealize Christianity and that giving spirit, but being humble and selfless as you saw, they didn't make a big deal about this experience at all. They just do it because it's in their hearts," said Dr. Wragg.

They are hearts that are filled with love for the people and place in which they live.

"We love living in Eau Claire, and we see in this community a community that really wants to work together to make a difference," Tracey said. "I'm just so glad God moved us to this community."

As a Community Builder, the Elys will receive a $1,000 donation to the charity of their choice.

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