Inspired by Education
Posted by Jennifer Vecchiarelli on September 22, 2017 in categoryStudent Stories

We can only imagine that not being able to read a book, a menu at a restaurant, a bill, or street sign would add an immense amount of stress and difficulty to day-to-day tasks for an adult of any age. When we hear about adult learners who succeed in their efforts to gain basic literacy skills, we find joy in sharing their stories with you. Today we are sharing the stories of adult learners who were inspired by education to achieve new goals. 

Daughter’s Diploma Inspired Her Own 

In June 2016, Crystal Anderson, 43, enrolled in Getting Ahead Adult Education Program classes at the Cortland County Community Action Program (CAPCO), in Cortland, NY. At the time, she was reading at a fifth-grade level. 

Anderson left high school in the 10th grade. In the years that followed, while pregnant with her daughter, she suffered a severe stroke that forced her into an early delivery. She was on life support for three weeks and was paralyzed and blind on one side. Anderson’s doctors told her that she would never walk again and her memory would always be impaired. That didn’t stop Anderson from what she did next, though. 

A year ago, as she watched her daughter prepare to graduate high school, Anderson became inspired to graduate, too, and she enrolled in CAPCO. With the help of her tutor, and the use of the New Readers Press book Challenger 6, which the program received through a 2015-2016 National Book Fund grant, she was able to rapidly advance to a 12th-grade reading level. She quickly moved into the HSE program, passed the TASC exam to earn her equivalency diploma, and met the entrance requirements to enroll in a local Office Technology Program.

The Literacy Journey to Become a CNA

Setting goals and achieving them begins with a dream and for Jessica Gelsemino, hers was greatly impacted by the help and support of Literacy Volunteers of Kent County, Inc. (LVKC) in Coventry, Rhode Island.

Jessica grew up in a small town named Gong Yi of the Gong Dong Province in China. She arrived in the United States in 2011 when she began to explore new opportunities and career paths. 

At a time when she could not drive and spoke very little English, Jessica looked to LVKC for the assistance she needed. In 2013 she joined the Coventry Start Here ELL group conversation class taught by Evelyne Kokolsky and Donna Miller. During her time with LVKC, she was able to achieve her goals of obtaining her driver’s license and her citizenship. 

While acquiring her new skills, Jessica became ambitious towards becoming a CNA and helping others. As she started noticing the challenges that many senior citizens face as they age, a passion for making them happy and helping them achieve a quality of life had developed. Jessica moved on to achieve her goal and passed her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) test in November 2016 when she took her state exam.  She now works for Hope Nursing Home Care in Cranston as a visiting CNA.


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