TESTIMONIALS: WHAT PARTICIPANTS IN CURET’s ADULT EDUCATION: LITERACY AND NUMERACY TO EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM SAY

 

“I’m so happy I enrolled in this program. This was what I was looking for a long time”

 

“This is a wonderful program. I like the warm setting and the instructors are very caring. Everyone makes you feel welcome and that you belong here.”

 

“This is the place. Thank you.”

 

“I’m learning what I never thought I could do. Now that I’m learning to read, I want to get my GED and maybe someday attend the community college.” 

 

“This is such a warm and caring place to learn. I feel lost in other huge places. I get confused in those settings. But this place is ideal for folks like me.”

 

“I’m not stressed out when I come here.  I just love it.”

 

“I like the size of the classes.”

 

“I never thought I’d have this opportunity to learn to read and do math. This is wonderful. I’m making use of this second chance in my life.”

Interview with Mark, Maurice, Nora

Wed., Dec. 10, 2014

 

Mark Bailey: 

As the years go by the students we’re getting are more focused and we are getting a younger set of students. The new students are more locked into the program here at CURET. The program has taken root in the community.

 

Nora: 

The students want to be qualified to take the GED exams and they are moving towards that with focus. They want to complete their H.S. Some have terrific skills but they are timid. So I’m helping them to deal with that timidity. I always encourage them. I tell them: “You can, you have it within you. Let’s try, try, try.” For me, I feel fulfilled and that I am rendering a good service. And the students are very appreciative.

 

Maurice: 

I’m here for a short time, but it’s a very rewarding experience. I have some skills to share, I want to “give back.”  For a long time I’ve been thinking about “giving back.” So much was given to me and I want to return.  Now I really look forward to my time here on Thursday evening. It’s a fulfilling time for me. When I see how the students want to learn, I really look forward to coming here and sharing knowledge and life skills. They have a commitment in learning the material I teaching. I see how many of the students have problems with math and struggling and they are defeating themselves with roadblocks and thinking negative thoughts. I try to dispel the negative thinking and there are moments when there is a breakthrough.

 

Nora: 

Yes, I am thrilled when there’s that Ah-Had moment when there’s the breakthrough and I encourage them.

 

Mark:

What is most thrilling is the fact that the students are not only learning the academics. They are making connections in other ways in this nurturing environment: They discover that resources are here to help them with other needs they have. For example, I get a lot of questions about the tax system and filing their income tax returns, and other things they don’t understand. Suddenly, it dawns on them that they are really at a resource center with lots of resources. If they have a question, they are pointed in the right direction to help them sought out things. I know a student whose goal was not the GED, but to improve his reading and to move forward at his place of employment. And he did and was promoted on his job. 

 

Some of the students said they wish they could be here more days because of what they are learning and how beneficial it is, improving their lives.

 

Mark:

One of the things we did from the inception of the program is to help students pace themselves so that their learning is not stressful. We encourage them to be realistic; don’t think you can learn everything in a short timeframe. It takes time to absorb new information. Don’t stop trying. When you are given homework, invest the time at home, even if you can put in only one hour or half hour, let it be quality time devoted to your learning the material that is covered in class and you will make strides. But don’t try to rush. And I tell them: Remember when you were back home and your goals for coming to this country. Recall how back home we stress education. Don’t forget that and let that be your guide. So be patient, you’ll accomplish your goals. And don’t keep saying, ‘I have to get my GED by such a date. That may not be realistic. So Don’t do that; just keep coming to class, doing your homework. It’s the consistency that will get you to your goals.

 

Maurice:

Yes, that so true. For people to move forward with their education, that’s what we stress in JA.

 

Mark:

When I talk with my students, I always make reference to their time back in JA. Just keep in mind that with all the opportunities in this country, you can excel with your educational goals.

 

Maurice:

Students tend to related better with our cultural experiences. And I draw upon that as I try to teach math.  Don’t be scared, I encourage them as I’m teaching math.

 

I tell them, “I’m not different from you. True, I’ve gotten opportunities that have pushed me forward. Let’s work together. I come here every Thursday evening to help push you forward. It’s a two-way street. When you go home after class, just do your part. I know you have to make a living, but don’t just think for today; make the sacrifices. Perhaps take a half hour less sleep, or an hour here and there and you’ll make it, bit by bit.  That’s what I did with the opportunities that came my way.

 

Mark:

Every hour you spend with your studies here will help to push you forward. My students call me from time to time to explain a math problem they were assigned for homework. I recall one of my students called, asking for help. One night she was up late working out math problems. Her husband said, ‘come to bed. It’s late. She said,  “I wasn’t coming to bed until I solve this math problem.” That’s amazing, I think. So the motivation and persistence are admirable.” 

 

 

 

Final Words

 

Nora:

My experience in coming to CURET to give back is something special for me. What a wonderful experience in “giving back” to the community. The community was good to me and now it’s my time to give back and I’m enjoying it, working with students who are so motivated and appreciative.

 

Mark:

This Center is well needed in the community. With teaching and learning taking place among adult learners who are grasping the opportunity presented to them. We are helping people to get employment and get promotions on the job. One of my students shared with me what her employer told her: “I can’t promote you until you earn your GED. What a motivation! So, we’re building the neighborhood one person at a time; one family at a time. That’s how we have to look at it. We’re making a difference in so many lives—one person at a time.

 

Maurice:

We are securing futures for the adult students we’re teaching. Also, we’re securing the future for the next generation. When I met Mark about 6 months ago, we were chatting casually and I mentioned to him the fact that I always wanted to give back. Then Mark said to me: “I know the right place for you to do that. In that connection with Mark, here I am, enjoying every moment of the experience here at this Center. I’m enjoying my volunteering experience, sharing with adult learners who have a thirst for education. This is indeed a wonderful thing.

 

Mark:

When I first came to this county, I couldn’t find a job. So I started volunteering and did that for a while. Then a job opening came my way and I got a permanent job. All because I volunteered and my made connections and my performance led the way for me. So volunteering is a good thing.

 

Maurice:

I always wanted to give back and volunteer. This is one of my life’s goals, and I’m enjoying it. Thanks for this opportunity.