Student Success Stories
Our students are wonderful because they are willing to work hard to reach their goals! Learn more about the students, our programs, and our successes! Names have been changed to protect confidentiality.
An Arabic speaking woman with no formal education in either her language or ours was connected with one of our very best volunteer tutors. In the six or so months they’ve been working together, the student has learned to read. She is devouring books now and is learning to sound symbol relationships of Arabic characters on her very own. She and the tutor both have been beaming with pride over their accomplishments!
Mary started working with an adult tutor almost two years ago, after the birth of her first child. She just gave birth to her second child, and can read children’s books in English to both of them!
A year ago, Erin would never go anywhere without her husband. Her limited English skills had her feeling embarrassed and stressed in situations like parent/teacher conferences and at the doctor’s office. She says that now she can go places by herself including her daughter’s school, the dentist office, the grocery store, or the doctor’s office.
Thea came to LCA many years ago after a traumatic car accident and brain injury. Though she had technically finished high school, she had to learn to read and write again. When we first met Thea she was a frustrated young woman, angry to be forced into becoming a student again. Now, she is a happily married young woman who shares her determination and passion for life by volunteering at LCA in many capacities, including tutoring with the After-School Program!
Edna, an elderly African American, grew up in Mississippi, one of 15 children. She never went to school. She is now matched with a volunteer from the community, learning to read and write. She cares for a young nephew and wants to help with his homework. She recently wrote a short essay about her family.
One of our tutors wrote, "I tutor a Korean student with two pre-school age children. In the past, the youngest child has been very withdrawn, and spoke only Korean. However, I went to their home one day and the child had a 'language explosion' and began saying everything to me in English! Her mother said that I was the only one that has heard her speak so much English. In addition, the child has grown independent to the extent that she is now able to participate in the Even Start Preschool without her older sister and without tears!"
With her husband deployed to Iraq, Ann is doing many new things for her children, including attending parent teacher conferences. Previously, she took a translator with her to do most of the talking and asking of questions. After working with a class instructor and practicing with the Pre-school Specialist, Ann attended the parent teacher conference last week with her translator, but for the first time, did most of the question asking and talking herself!
One of our tutors wrote, "Wanted to share with you about my home visit yesterday. I went to see Tommy, and since there was no school, his older brother, who is 9, was home. Anyway, when I first arrived they were taunting each other and there was some hitting going on and mom being loud...so, I got out my home visit bag with all my goodies and they both zoomed in! We played, along with mom, a matching game and two floor puzzles, and read two stories. The big moment came when the older brother said, and I quote, 'This is the most fun I have had with my little brother in a long time.' WOW! What a privilege to be a part of his experience. It is the little things that are actually the big things that bring me so much joy with my job!"
On the first day of tutoring, Darren, a third grader, made it clear he was not happy to be part of the tutoring program. He did not participate in group activities, spoke as little as possible, and found every excuse he could to leave the classroom. He was paired up with one of our older students, a senior in high school. With quiet patience, she worked with Darren each day. Within a week, his attitude improved and he arrived for tutoring with a smile on his face. His mother reported that Darren had told her tutoring was “just like school, only funner!” In the course of the 4-week tutoring program, Darren improved his math score by a full grade level.
One of our tutors, Kara, was new to the Fairbanks area. She was living with her aunt and cousins and was not very familiar with the area. Her life at home was not always stable, and it was clear that she was looking for friends and positive activities. Kara was one of only two tutors who stayed through all eight weeks of the program. She missed only one day, due to illness, and was energetic and upbeat. She connected well with all the children, not just the students she was paired with. In addition, she has returned to LCA to continue volunteering in other capacities. One of the best benefits of the Cross Age tutoring program is the positive impact it has on teens in our community.
After distributing books to a village in Alaska, we received this message. "I have distributed nine tenths of the books I received after I got back from Kenai. Everybody seemed glad to get them. They are particularly good at this time because the only library in the village is locked up until mid-August. I'm distributing books to recycling center, CARE center, the Health Center, the Native Village, and the airport terminal, and the Elder's Building (where people play cards and billiards etc.) I'm here at the Native Village, and noticed one of the books was sitting here by the computer. There is a kid here sitting beside me, and I gave it to her, and she is reading it now! Thanks to everybody involved."
We received this note in the mail with several books!
"To the Book Recycling Program,
I am returning these books to you. I also want to thank you for allowing my children to read them when we did not have a lot of extra money to buy books. Although I moved out of Alaska (job reasons), four years ago, (I miss it so much), I was going through my children’s books and found these. I thought that it would be nice to return them, so other kids there can enjoy them as much as my own kids did.
Again, thank you."
Paul came to LCA to request a computer through our computer recycling program at the end of the summer. After meeting the staff and seeing our facility, he became a regular visitor to LCA throughout the fall and early winter. He even brought in a book he was writing for staff to read and critique. Paul sent his book to a publisher and we are all waiting to see if it’s published! He recently moved out of state, but before he left, he took a moment to tell me that we’d all affected his life more than we knew. Sometimes, successes are happening without us even knowing!
Jody came to LCA possessing some basic computer skills, but as she puts it, the technology had passed her by. So she enrolled at our computer lab to receive instruction in file management, word processing and spreadsheets. With the help of a one on one tutor, she made the most of what we had to offer. She came several times a week, and diligently worked through the lessons. She even encouraged her daughter to come, who enjoyed our educational and problem solving software. Jody was working at a grocery store at the time and didn’t realize just how beneficial the instruction would be. A few months later, the grocery store closed and she was out of a job. She was hired to be a peer counselor for a local organization then moved to a bookkeeper position, both of which required her newly acquired skills. She now works full time as an Administrative Assistant and loves her work. Jody says that she tries to live by what a teacher once told her: “Strive for the top, because the bottom is too crowded.” She also says that the instruction she received from the Literacy Council is what opened the door for her.
A local elementary teacher wrote, "I would like you to share the positive results of the Guys Read program is having with the lower readers in my class. I kind of "ordered" certain of my boys to go to this program. They slogged over reluctantly and were instantly hooked from the first book. Now, my lower readers are the ones who remind me about the Guys Read schedule and even post the flyers on my door."
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