Reading Lab opens in Huntley’s honor

Clanton attorney Elizabeth “Liz” Huntley was the inspiration behind the opening of the Liz Huntley Word Lab and Reading Workshop in Birmingham. (Contributed Photo)

Clanton attorney Elizabeth “Liz” Huntley was the inspiration behind the opening of the Liz Huntley Word Lab and Reading Workshop in Birmingham. (Contributed Photo)

The personal story of Clanton attorney Elizabeth “Liz” Huntley has not only inspired countless individuals, but has now inspired members of the Alabama Literary Council to open a reading lab in her honor.

The Liz Huntley Word Lab and Reading Workshop opened in January 2015 and serves as a “safe place” for adults to learn, read or enhance their literacy skills.

The Word Lab, located at the Literacy Council of Central Alabama in Birmingham, includes a library and computers for use by the public.

According to Huntley, Literacy Council patrons Kathryn and Raymond Harbert chose to name the Word Lab in her honor after viewing her personal story on a telethon edition of Fox 6 news.

Huntley’s personal story inspired the patrons to donate $75,000 for use in rebuilding the Word Lab facility after a fire in 2014 damaged the original building.

Huntley shared that she was “amazed” by the donation and tribute, especially since her unfortunate childhood was made better through her ability to read.

“My parents were drug dealers, I was abused by family members growing up and went through many more unspeakable things,” Huntley said. “Despite all of it, my ability to read helped me thrive in school, and reading books at home helped me cope or escape from the things happening to me and around me.”

Huntley is an attorney with Lightfoot Franklin White LLC in Birmingham and has served on the Auburn Board of Trustees, but still credits much of her success to those who helped her thrive as a child.

“At eight years old, I gave my life to the Lord, and it was the ability to read that allowed me to understand the word of God,” Huntley said.

A member of the World’s Church of the Living God in Clanton, Huntley said it was her church family, along with her schoolteachers, that helped her become the person she is today.

Her personal triumph led her to the realization that a few supportive individuals can change the course of a person’s life.

According to the Literacy Council’s website, there are more than 92,000 functionally illiterate adults currently living in Central Alabama.

With the opening of the word lab, there will also be more staff members giving one-on-one instruction to visitors.

The lab was opened in hopes of providing adults with a judgment-free zone where they can learn or fine-tune literacy skills.

Helping people better their lives in this way is exactly what Huntley has strived to do by sharing her testimony.

“Yes, I went through that terrible stuff, but now I can help people,” Huntley said. “God has been so good to me so that I can help others.”

Huntley lives in Clanton with her husband, Tony, and three children.

For more information on the Liz Huntley Word Lab and Reading Workshop, visit alliteracycouncil.wordpress.com or call the Literacy Council of Central Alabama at (205) 326-1925.

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