March 12, 2012
The following story was written by Debbie Manning, from Edmonton, Alberta. Debbie has recently been enrolled in a literacy program at P.A.L.S., in Edmonton.
I went to work at Safeway but I really missed the kids at my old job. Safeway was hard work. I started having trouble with my knees. I worked really hard for 4 years then we moved to Calgary. Ernie was offered a full time job working with his sister. He maintained her building and I would help him. I had a really hard time in Calgary and Ernie and I separated. I decided to move home to Edmonton and Ernie and I got back together.
There I was. Back in Edmonton but I had no job. My knees were bad so I couldn’t work at Safeway anymore. I couldn’t work in the daycare. I had some money from my mom and Ernie was taking care of me but it was depressing. I wasn’t working and I didn’t feel well. I tried to keep myself occupied and busy but it wasn’t easy.
I had trouble filling out application forms for jobs and I couldn’t do anything but hard labour jobs anyhow because I didn’t read well. I couldn’t do the labour jobs because of my knees. I was caught in a nasty circle.
When I worked at the day care I had a good friend named Alison. She told me that she was going to a place to learn to read and do math called PALS. She told me that she had a tutor and that her tutor helped her a lot. I thought maybe I could get a tutor and see if they could help me.
I was a little shy when I first went to PALS. I worried they would treat me like they did when I was at school. They treated me well. They were understanding and patient. I felt they treated me with respect. It was lots of fun once I knew they weren’t going to make fun of me.
I have had two great tutors, Jody and Marg. When I started five years ago I was in the level 1 books. Now I am in level 5. I feel a lot better about myself. I can read and write and I am getting a whole lot better at my Math. I worked this year at the office for Cerebral Palsy. I read a script to the customer on the phone. They even told me I had to slow down when I was reading. How is that for an improvement !?!
I can read and say all the hard words now and at family gatherings I can read to my nieces and nephew. I really like that. Ernie is very proud of me. My family is very proud of me too.
They asked me to give a speech at the Annual General Meeting for P.A.L.S. this year. My whole family came. It was wonderful to have them there to listen to me speak. I also have been speaking for the United Way campaign. I get nervous but it is a lot of fun.
The United Way gives money to P.A.L.S. so I am happy to help. Anybody who needs help like I did should come to PALS. They will get help too.
I feel good about my life now. I can read just about any book. I can do the same things other people do and I don’t have to feel bad about myself any more. I am a member of the Students for Students at P.A.L.S. and give back to the project that helped me. I have lots of friends there. We do workshops and public speaking and go on field trips. I always feel welcome and appreciated. I feel equal to other people now, thanks to P.A.L.S., and equal feels good.