September 22, 2003
The following story was written by Sarah Critchlow, from Saint John, New Brunswick. Sarah, in her thirties, attended programs at the Saint John Learning Exchange and READ Saint John. Struggling with a learning disability, she began work with a tutor in 1997. Since then, she has gotten married, started to work in a catering business as president of the board, and serves as the student advisor on the READ Saint John council, a Laubach Literacy council Board. Sarah was also a 2002 recipient of The Co-operators Learner Achievement Award for New Brunswick.
I didn't feel very good about myself before I began my upgrading. I had no confidence. I was very shy and I didn't talk to people. I kept to myself.
I went to the Learning Exchange first. I felt good. I was talking to other people who were in the same boat as I was. I went as far as I could with them but I wanted more. Then I heard about READ Saint John. I came in and did an evaluation and they found me a Tutor.
I knew I had a learning disability. I was tested for it before. I have a problem getting things down on paper. I know what I want to write but it doesn't look like it on paper. I miss words all the time. Working with a tutor one on one, I am slowly learning how to compensate. My mother has got a computer and we are working on that together. I find that it helps me a great deal.
Since I have been working on my upgrading, I have become less shy and more self confident. I volunteer and am President on a board for a catering organization, and have started public speaking to new tutors. I also sit on the board of READ Saint John as the Student Representative. Last year I won an award for achievement and that was a great surprise.
I feel pretty good about myself. I'm planning on getting another job. I work for the Catering organization now and the new job will probably be in the same field.
[This story was taken from a collection of stories written by learners from NB, a document showing the benefits of literacy training, entitled Live & Learn : Profiling Successful Outcomes in Literacy, p.14.]