Impact Stories

Student Stories

Literacy Program Helps Student Pass Military Test

November 11, 2022

Today, on Veterans Day, we honor all those who have served or are currently serving in the U.S. military. Thank you for your sacrifice and service. 

Gerno Allen

It is also the perfect day to share the success of Gerno Allen—better known these days as Pvt. Allen. 

Gerno knew he wanted to enlist in the U.S. Army, but he would need to pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), a test that measures a young adult’s strength and potential success for military training. With the help of Literacy Volunteers of Greater New Haven (LVGNH), a ProLiteracy member program, Gerno was able to not just sharpen his skills enough to pass the exam but he exceeded the score he was aiming for. 

LVGNH’s annual publication Hear Our Voices includes essays and reflections from volunteers and students. In this year’s book, Gerno wrote about his journey and determination to achieve his goals. 

Gerno’s essay of gratitude: 

Where to Go and How to Get There 

I really appreciate all of you. You’re the reason I was able to accomplish what needed to be accomplished, and for that I thank you honestly. Thanks for everything. When you’re determined to get somewhere in life there are some obstacles that come out of nowhere. At that point, you must reach them and then crush them and learn from it. 

Along your journey to your goals, it’s certain people that stroll into your life to help you achieve that goal and/or place you’re determined to get to, and the tutors and staff at Literacy Volunteers are some of those people. I was someone trying to get somewhere but didn’t know how or have the right tools. But after finding Literacy Volunteers things changed as far as me seeing where to go, and I appreciate them 100% because they helped me continue my journey to where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. I was trying to pass my ASVAB test to enlist in the Army. I wanted to have a certain score in order to have a variety of job options. With their help, I was able to not only pass, but to pass with 15 points more than I was expecting and for that I am thankful. 

Gerno, who is now at Basic Training, is proof that adult education can help change lives.  

Photo credit: The photo of Gerno Allen above was taken by John Wiley, a former Literacy Volunteers student (2019–20) who’s now a freelance photographer in New Haven.


Want to know more about Veterans Day, from why there’s no apostrophe in Veterans to how the day is different from Memorial Day?

Visit the Veterans Day FAQ page from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs