willy_thumbWilly had big plans for his professional life. He was going to move beyond the “odd jobs” he had been doing, go to college, and start a career. But first he had to get his GED.

Willy recalled, “I started at Literacy Services when they were at 27th and Wells, but I broke away; I just wasn’t focused. Focus was hard, really hard for me.” He continued working those odd jobs for a time, but never forgot his goal of earning his GED.

In 2011, Willy decided it was time to get his goal back on track. “I came back after they moved to the new offices on Plankinton. It was the right place, and finally, the right time!”

Willy had a difficult journey towards getting his GED. Without the individual support and encouragement he received at LSW, he is not sure he would have succeeded. He credits his tutor, LSW board member Maureen “Mo” Warmuth, and GED Program Director David Peters for helping him get it done. “Mo and David were a huge help in my journey. Mo was my tutor, and she knew how to keep me motivated. She was the reason I was able to stick with it at Literacy Services the second time. David would always encourage me to keep focused and call me to be sure I kept coming in to do the work.”

Willy’s big plans are finally falling into place.

And he did: Willy graduated with his GED in 2012.

Willy emphasized the learning environment of Literacy Services and the warm and personal atmosphere as additional factors that helped him stick with the GED program for 18 months. He contrasted that positive environment to other places he has been in his life that didn’t have what he called the “right feel”: “One thing that was very important was the vibe of the place; it doesn’t have a funny vibe, it has a good vibe. I felt comfortable with the people and how everyone treated each other. It was the perfect place for me.”


Willy’s big plans are finally falling into place. He is enrolled part-time in the accounting program at Waukesha County Technical College, where he’s on track to graduate in 2017. He works several jobs that give him the flexibility to continue his studies while also earning a living. Willy reminisced about how far he had come to get to where he is today, closing in on a degree in accounting, and the importance of big and small things about his time at Literacy Services: “I remember that Mo was the first one to teach me about counting money. And now I am studying accounting.”