"Ruth Colvin is a living testament to the literacy cause. We were brought together in the 1980s by a mutual passion in life—to educate every man, woman and child. Ruth has compiled inspirational stories from men and women she has met in 26 developing countries. Her passion for literacy has no boundaries and will help people around the world."—former first lady Barbara Bush
"Ruth Colvin exemplifies the power of one individual changing the world for the better. I share Ruth’s passion of eradicating illiteracy within the United States and I am humbled by the stories she shares in her book."—David Baldacci, New York Times Bestselling Author
"Off the Beaten Path provides a glimpse into the lives of different people and their cultures, the overwhelming desire of people to learn, and the understanding that, despite our cultural differences, we are, generally, more similar than different."—Gregg A. Tripoli, Executive Director Onondaga Historical Association
From the Sunshine Coast of South Africa to a remote ashram in India, Colvin and her husband have traveled around the world, visiting sixty–two countries and providing literacy training in twenty–six developing countries.
The founder of Literacy Volunteers of America, Inc., which later merged with other organizations to become ProLiteracy, Colvin was invited by universities, religious organizations, and the International Executive Service Corporation to share her skills in native language literacy and English as a second language training.
Along the way, Colvin met people from all walks of life—a holy man in India, a banned leader and a revolutionary in the apartheid system of South Africa, lepers in India and Madagascar, Chinese Communists who truly “serve the people,” and survivors of Pol Pot’s Cambodia. In a richly varied and exciting career, Colvin’s most rewarding adventures were connecting with individuals from vastly different backgrounds and experiences, learning about their cultures and traditions, and discovering the many similarities all people share. Believing education is the key to facilitating communication and understanding among people around the world, Colvin, a lifelong learner herself, has dedicated her life to teaching others.
The recipient of nine honorary doctorates, Ruth J. Colvin was given the highest award for volunteerism in the United States, the President’s Volunteer Action Award, in 1987. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006 and was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1991. She lives in Syracuse, New York.
6 x 9, 212 pages, 43 black and white illustrations, 9 maps