The Whole Family Celebrates Literacy Rewards
Many of the funders of our programs and those who legislate our program content are grossly unaware of how widespread the impact of the services of our adult literacy programs is. They do not know that the overall outcome will influence the entire family though it may take years for that result to be experienced.
In 1992, it was my privilege to meet the Ramos family in the Grayson Literacy Team program at the Sherman Public Library. For eighteen years, the sole purpose of the reading program has been to help adults raise their literacy level to a functional point so that they can be more productive workers, better parents, and more contributory members of the community. The Ramos family had come from Guatemala recently. Jorge, the father, was working with a local landscaper and spoke very little English. Beatriz, the mother, spoke almost no English at all. As they came to enroll in the one-on-one tutoring sessions, the Ramos' interpreters turned out to be their children, six-year-old Douglas and five-year-old Andrea. Tutoring schedules were set up for the parents in the adult literacy program. For a while, the children continued to come with the parents. They were a confidence boost to parents and a "security blanket" to the volunteer tutors.
From the very beginning, the parents were eager learners. They progressed rapidly. Jorge got a job with a plastics production plant; Beatriz became active in assisting in her children's schoolroom. She went on field trips and took part in educational programs concerning her country and her culture. The Ramoses own their home. They were an inspiration to their children, and they became involved with the Hispanic community through very active church work. Many people and the Ramos children reaped the benefits of their desire to learn English and become a contributing part of the community. Five years ago, another baby was born to the Ramos family, little Celeste who is as bright and enthusiastic as the rest of the family.
This past May, Douglas, the oldest of the Ramos children, graduated from high school. Andrea will follow next year. Celeste has entered Pre-K and, as her brother and sister, has left her mark as an outstanding student who is a delight to be around. They are competent in computer skills and are avid readers. Douglas plans to enter college in the fall majoring in architecture.
As their family learned together, they shine as one bright star in the educational influence of the adult education program offered by the Grayson Literacy Team. We salute the success of this family and feel blessed to have been a part of their success story. Many programs such as the Grayson Literacy Team empower entire families to succeed in their quest to improve their life styles through learning.
About the Author
Betsy Anderson is beginning her 29th year in adult education. Eighteen of those years have been spent in the field of adult literacy. It has been a blessing to have worked with families who have reached what they thought were unreachable goals. The successes sometimes are so minute that one would not recognize it if he had not seen the starting line. Betsy is a graduate of Austin College in Sherman.