The history of Limos for Learning™ is appealing in its simplicity. The organization’s president and founder, Betsy Ross, is a pharmacy owner and a vested member of the SCPhA. Time and again, she witnessed patients wrestling with the consequences of being unable to read. “Illiteracy is a social disease of staggering proportions,” she explains. “Individuals who are able to read often don’t realize how debilitating it is not to have that ability.”

Contemplate the reality. A person who is unable to read cannot interpret dosage instructions on a prescription bottle, let alone learn more about illnesses and medications. A person who is unable to read can’t interpret symbols on doors, labels on cans, directional signage, receipts, menus, mail, nothing. Imagine the hardship and embarrassment. Imagine that it never ends.

In South Carolina, one of every three people fights this battle – a battle that compromises health, safety and quality of life.

Over and over again, Betsy Ross watched the dilemma unfold. She knew early intervention was critical. Unfortunately, however, by the time she was confronted by the confused stare of an illiterate adult, he or she had already suffered immeasurably – and would likely be too uncomfortable or too ashamed to accept help. She often wondered what she could do.

In 2003, Betsy took a niece and friends on a birthday trip where the pre-teen group spotted a sleek limousine arriving at a popular restaurant. The girls were awestruck. Excitedly, they speculated who might be riding behind the fancy car’s dark windows. One of them noted it would definitely be “someone successful.”

Inspiration struck, and Limos for Learning™ was born.

The reaction of those little girls made Betsy realize every elementary kid facing the challenge of reading would be impressed – and motivated – by the prospect of riding in a limousine. Easy access to television, the Internet, radio broadcasts, billboards and other media have created a generation of kids steeped in pop culture. They regularly watch famous personalities  – musicians, film stars and sports figures – chauffeured to extravagant events in long, shiny cars. To them, a limousine ride equals success – and inspires a sense of longing.

To any kid – to every kid – riding in a limousine means “the world is at my doorstep.” And, gifted with the ability to read, the world is at their doorstep. That is the reality that defines Limos for Learning™.

Limos for Learning ™ is a program that rewards each and every child who strives diligently to improve reading skills. This doesn’t necessarily mean the kids who make the best grades or read the most books; Limos for Learning™ recognizes kids who work hardest. The program’s success has been phenomenal.