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Impact  >  Student Story


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Jay came to the Durham Literacy Center because he needed to improve his reading and writing in order to pass the HVAC licensing test. He currently works at Duke University as a heating and air technician and can get a better job if he becomes licensed. Improving his reading and writing skills also helps Jay understand his work orders and write reports at his current job.

He was matched with tutor Susan in the fall of 2019, who had recently moved to Durham and wanted to get involved in her new community. With six nieces and a nephew on the way, Jay wants to be able to read with the kids in his family. “To be able to read with them or with my kids when I ever have them, to be able to give that back, it’ll be a stepping stone for them, too, so if they are struggling they’ll understand that you never get too old,” Jay said. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Susan and Jay have moved their lessons online. “We’ve been  luckier than a lot of other (student/tutor) pairs because we both have good internet access, we both have the tools, we both know how to use the tools,” Susan said. Jay enjoys having more flexibility to schedule their sessions, as his work schedule has changed during the pandemic. 

After a year of working together, Jay’s confidence in himself and in his abilities has increased greatly. And whether they’re meeting online or in-person, they end every lesson by reading a section of a Harry Potter novel together. They’re on the second book right now and enjoy bringing the characters to life by reading aloud. 

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