Lives of Students and Tutors Are Transformed
Posted by Jennifer Vecchiarelli on August 02, 2018 in categoryStudent Stories categoryWomen's Empowerment

Blue Ridge Literacy Council is dedicated to transforming lives through improved literacy and English communication skills for adult learners across Hendersonville, North Carolina. 

One of the program’s tutors, Dawn, shared an inspirational story about her bond with her student, Michelle.

Transforming lives is a stated goal of the Blue Ridge Literacy Council. And yes, this occurs with improvement in reading, writing, and English communication. What is unstated is how the lives of a student and tutor are transformed through their work together. Test scores measure students’ literacy growth and progress and are instrumental in verifying the success of the BRLC’s programs. Yet, there is no single test or paper certificate that can measure and capture the tremendous bond that is forged between a student and tutor. When that happens, lives are transformed and true change happens. 

True change is expressed best by Michelle, my student, who says that in the two and a half years we have worked together she “grew as a person.” Unquestionably, her reading comprehension “grew” four grade levels within nine months! But more important is the intangible growth that Michelle has made. Again, in her own words: “I am willing to try to new things; I am able to speak out; and I am motivated to set new goals for myself.”

In the same breath, Michelle says to me, “We are a team. We can laugh together, cry together, and most of all, have fun together.” Michelle and I do have a special bond. As she grows in her confidence so do I.  As she is willing to try new things, so am I. For example, we explored computer classes at the library. We volunteered at the BRCC’s book fair. We sold the book Voices at Hendersonville’s Garden Festival. We completed the job certificate pretesting offered by NC Works. We are currently taking a course at BRCC about the Heritage and History of Henderson County. We are exploring volunteering options at Elizabeth House, a hospice facility. And I will go with Michelle when she bravely and resolutely attends the orientation prior to applying to the Certified Nursing Aide (CNA) program at BRCC.  

Together we have journeyed along paths we would never have taken alone. As Michelle says, “Together, we have come a long way in a short time!” Her new experiences are my new experiences. Her personal growth reflects my personal growth. Her true joy in our friendship is my true joy.

Our experience with the Blue Ridge Literacy Council continues as a “win-win” for both of us. Yet, I suspect our shared story is not unique. The lives of so many of the literacy council’s students and tutors have been forever changed by their work together. This is transformation in its truest sense.

Michelle worked for one year to pass the admissions requirements to enter CNA training. She finally received her CNA Certification in October 2017. By December 2017 she was employed at Elizabeth House, the same hospice facility where she had once trained to become a hospice volunteer.  

To learn more about Blue Ridge Literacy Council, visit, or call (828) 696-3811. 

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