Ruth Rusie

Video courtesy of United Way Worldwide, when Ruth Rusie was featured in 2010.

Picture yourself at 99 years old. What do you see? Many people can only barely imagine surviving to 99 years, but Central Indiana’s own Ruth Rusie is thriving – and fighting for the literacy of all children.

Rusie, a retired school teacher for the MSD of Martinsville, continues to promote early childhood education and literacy outside the classroom. Her passion for literacy extends beyond early childhood through her service on the Morgan County Advisory Board, the Morgan County Coalition for Literacy and the Martinsville Literary Club. Rusie has been honored by numerous civic organizations in Morgan County including Martinsville Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs, Greater Martinsville Chamber of Commerce, Community Foundation, City of Martinsville and United Way.

In 2010, Rusie won a Live United Story Search contest and was featured in a nation-wide promotion sharing why she chooses to give her time to United Way and Live United. Her whole life has been devoted to the education of children and making sure they are provided with the opportunity to learn and grow, and the year 2010 was dedicated to spreading her passion for education far and wide.

Rusie believes that literacy is one of the most important assets a child can and should possess, and because of this she remains dedicated to United Way and its mission. It is no short leap to notice that efforts like Rusie’s have helped pave the way for major literacy initiatives in Central Indiana, like increased funding and access to quality early childhood education and programs like ReadUP, whose goal is to increase grade-level literacy.

When asked what is so special about Central Indiana’s volunteering spirit, Rusie shared, “We pull together in times of need through special events. One example is the flood of 2008 in Morgan County.” Her dream for our region is that all would come together, sharing resources and volunteering, to work toward a common vision.

Although retired, Rusie clearly continues to impact the young and old with her mission to promote literacy and her commitment to volunteering. Her challenge to others is simple: “Go out and see the results from volunteerism in your own community and get involved! It’s just the right thing to do!”