"Tell the kids to always ask for help and never be afraid." ~Arnie

The Fenix tells the inspirational true story of Arnie Stewart, the “Forrest Gump” of literacy, and highlights the real life effects of never learning to read and write.

The story follows “Arnie” Stewart from his humble beginnings as an extremely impoverished child growing up with 11 siblings in the small mining town of Cobalt, Ontario Canada.

Arnie barely learned to read or write. At the age of 15 he was kicked out of school and told that he would ever amount to anything. Because of this, his father gave him $15 told him that he had to leave home.

Arnie set out on his journey into adulthood with the reading and writing skills of a third grader. In order to survive, he would slept in the bushes, ate out of garbage cans and lived in parked cars. Eventually, Arnie met a girl, who, out of compassion, brought him a sandwich. They fell in love and got married. Together, they had two children. Because of his inability to read Arnie accidentally fed his children dog food instead of beef stew. However, the turning point for Arnie was the day he had to admit to his children that he could barely read. He knew he had to ask for help.

Arnie found tutors and sought help at a literacy center. He became a motivational speaker at prisons and schools. I met Arnie when he came to speak at my school. I was so inspired I pulled him aside and said let's tell your story. began speaking at schools and encouraged children and adults to “Always Ask for Help.” I soon discovered that Arnie, in his late 50s, still could barely read.

Together visited numerous prisons and schools and made a difference in thousands of people’s lives. Arnie rose from the ashes of his oppressed childhood and became a well- known advocate for literacy in Canada. He was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for his work.

Arnie and Janet Lee 2007