People can hide for years, learning ways to maneuver in the world around them while keeping their secret.
The red sign with white letters, for example, means to stop.
Typically, they only admit the truth -- that they can't read -- when crisis forces it, said Bobbi Anne Cavanaugh, executive director of the York County Literacy Council.
The council's adult literacy program, which teaches illiterate adults how to read, was one of 72 community programs recently allocated money from the United Way of York County. She estimated there are about 40,000 Yorkers who need the classes, and thousands of others who use other programs funded through the $2.7 million Community Fund.
The money represents a portion of the overall $6.9 million campaign, money raised from donations people make through their employers. It consists of donations that weren't designated to a specific charity.
Every year, 15 panels of volunteers meet with partner agencies to review programs funded through The Community Fund. Each of 36 partner agencies submits an application for each program it submitted, including a summary of how the program helped and improved the lives of their clients, said United Way Executive Director Bob Woods.
Member agencies include groups such as York County Literacy Council, the American Red Cross and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of York County Inc.
Woods said this year's fund was about $155,000 less than last year. Donations are continuing to stabilize after dipping during the recession, he said.
Less money available: The smaller amount translated to a slight decrease for some organizations.
Among the programs funded were three initiatives at the York Jewish Community Center.
Executive director Randy Freedman said the $81,000 allocated for the diversity, child care and health improvement programs is about 7 percent less than last year.
"We were happy with the amount," she said. "We recognize the challenges of philanthropy in the community with this economy."
She said programs are secure with the allocation, and the United Way communicates the donation trends throughout the year so member agencies are able to budget accordingly.
The diversity program educates people about differences in race and religion and works to eliminate prejudice, Freedman said. The program was allocated about $12,000.
The other two programs provide early childhood education and financial help on gym memberships, and received about $43,000 and $25,000, respectively.
The YWCA of York, which recently announced a weeklong closure and furloughs because of budgeting shortfalls, was awarded the Community Fund's largest donation, $269,079.
CEO Deb Stock did nit immediately be reached for comment.