December 26, 2005
The following story was written by Jean Blackwood, from Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador. Jean is enrolled in literacy classes at the Corner Brook Learning Centre. In her spare time, she likes to go walking. She is also into photography and likes to organise her photo albums. Jean also enjoys reading and writing.
I live in the beautiful city of Corner Brook on the West Coast of Newfoundland. When I was fifteen years old I realized that my friends could read better then I could. I felt out of place, so I dropped out of school.
I decided to improve my reading and writing skills and being at the Learning Centre would give me hope that I could do that. I looked in the phone book and I saw an ad so I called. Soon after I had a call from Joan Brown to come to the Learning Centre. I was so happy ! Working at the Learning Centre makes me happy because I am with other people. I was attending night school but I wanted to attend day school.
I have been at the Learning Centre since 1998. The help from the teachers at the Centre is excellent and I work very hard to improve myself. My experience at the Learning Centre is good because it helps me improve my reading and writing skills.
One positive effect that improving my reading and writing has made on my life is that I feel more confidence in myself. I also feel better when meeting and talking to others in public. I feel good knowing my family is proud of me. They are happy for me and I know I have come a long way.
I have done volunteer work with the Cancer Society and the Red Cross. It is very rewarding for me to know that I can handle money confidently now when collecting for some charitable organization or selling tickets as I am able to make change a little easier and write down amounts.
I recall a time when my mom would call me up at 7:45 a.m. I would not be happy when the whistle sounded from Bowater's Pulp and Paper Mill at 8:00 because I knew that it was time for school and in class the teacher did not take time for me. It seemed that the boys and girls who did not know how to read were the ones at the back of the class, or in the corner with a book on their heads, or had red hands from the strap.
If I had not gone to the Learning Centre I would not be where I am today. I now can read to my grandsons, Christopher and Lucas. I have grown as a person and feel much more confident in myself.
The single most important thing that happened to me since I began to improve my reading and writing skills is that I had the opportunity to have my story published in the book "The Grocery Cart and other Stories". My story was called "Then and Now". I wrote about my life as I grew up in Corner Brook. Also, knowing how to put my story on the computer is a dream come true.
Another wonderful dream that has come true for me is that I now have my driver's licence. This took a lot of hard work and a lot of help from some great people, but I hung in there and it paid off. Education is also for people to get around the world and know the signs. As we go out to meet people we can tell then about things also.
Education is a good way to help young children today. I hope some day that I will be able to speak to young children in school and tell them how important education is today.
I also helped my mother to learn to write her name in her later years. Mom is 90 and always put an x on her checks. Now she is proud to be able to sign her own name to any documents.
I am enclosing a copy of a poem that I wrote. I got the idea from a lesson in my Voyager reading program. At Christmas this year I printed it out on nice paper and gave copies to my daughter and four sons. They were so proud of me! They all plan to have it framed and hung in their homes.
[This story was taken with permission, from A Book of Changes, which was was displayed at Literacy Action Day, on Parliament Hill. Learners' Advisory Network (LAN) members felt that true stories from learners would make literacy 'come alive' for the politicians who read them.]