Maria came to Wisconsin from Jamaica in 1994. Though she had gone to high school in Jamaica, her friends told her that her education might not be recognized in the US, and that she should get a GED. Maria didn’t think that was true, but since she had always loved learning she decided to go ahead and start the process. “I have a lot of curiosity and I thought this would be a good way to be doing something to keep learning,” she said of her decision to enroll.
Maria and her husband lived just two blocks from Literacy Services’ former office at 27th and Wells. From her perspective, the arrangement could not have worked better: She had just had a baby and was working, so she would go to LSW at night and on Saturdays. “It was very convenient,” Maria recalled, “and I was very appreciative of everyone there.”
Maria was surprised by how quickly she progressed. She had been out of school for many years, but, she said, “I surprised myself—I was flying through it.” The boost in confidence and the joy of learning were wonderful experiences for her. She even excelled in subjects that had once troubled her: “Math wasn’t my strong suit, but when you have someone who will take you one-on-one you can learn quickly.”
Maria was surprised by how quickly she progressed.
Maria’s progress at LSW was so inspiring that she was featured in a radio segment about Literacy Services. That is one of her favorite memories of that time: “One of the tutors took me to the radio station to talk about the program. They singled me out because I was so fast. That was very nice.” Maria has very fond memories of Literacy Services’ tutors and staff. She described several of the individuals with whom she had worked, and added, “I appreciate them all.”
After her studies at Literacy Services, Maria continued learning. She attended Gateway Technical College for a twelve-week certification program in computer literacy that focused on the internet and MS Office Suite© products. She also engaged in six months of on-the-job training to become a receptionist.
Ultimately, Maria became a Certified Nurse Assistant. She now works at the Veterans Administration Clinic and Veterans Home in Union Grove. She enjoys her job and the people she works with at the VA, and she notes that her efforts to strengthen her reading and math skills at Literacy Services have helped her perform well throughout her career.