Impact > Student Story
Paula enrolled in the Adult Literacy Program in 2018. With the help of her tutor, Andrew, Paula has made consistent progress sounding out, reading, spelling, and defining unfamiliar words. "I understand things more when I read and when people talk to me. How I speak has changed, too. Before, I could think of the words and ideas I wanted to say, but I wasn't sure how to pronounce them. Now I can say them. Sometimes, I hear myself say things, and I'm just shocked. I feel better about myself."
The thing Paula appreciates most about her lessons is Andrew’s patience. "Andrew is very calm. The first time I came here I just broke down. I've tried so many times before. But Andrew took his time and was very patient. If I'm embarrassed, he gives me time to pull myself together. And he never gives me the answers when I make a mistake or when I am not sure. He makes me work for my answers. This makes me want to come every time."
For Paula, the Durham Literacy Center is about more than just reading; she has felt "love and appreciation" in all her interactions here, and she wants others to enjoy the same support and success. Paula’s next goal is to earn her high school equivalency diploma in order to pursue a new career. She is currently considering going into counseling. Since she is always counseling family, she says she might as well take classes and do it professionally. In the meantime, Paula reads with her grandchildren and encourages them to spend time reading on their own. While she enjoys being their role model, "This time," she says, "it's for me!"