December 10, 2007
The following story was written by James Forde, from the Montreal area in Quebec. James is enrolled in literacy classes at Literacy Unlimited, in Pointe-Claire.
I had a hard time all of my life. It was difficult to cope. I suffered in my mind and my heart. I had to play the game. It was all a big lie. How did I cope? I got sick. It put me in a bad place. I got into a lot of trouble because I couldn’t read or write.
I battled to get free from the blank words that I had in my head. I stared at the paper and cried. There are far too may people who feel these things. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Going back to school later in life can be done. You will smile when you can read and write. Those close to you will feel better knowing that you are free and can finally open some doors.
For years I had always wanted to go back to school. I was just too messed up to follow through with anything. My life was in shambles. I was the black sheep of the family. My family and friends shut me out of their lives. I found myself surrounded by some dangerous people. It was a wild ride! I am lucky that I am still here.
I finally broke free from this lifestyle. There was no choice. One of my first goals was to learn to read and write. I was lucky to find support in my community. Some volunteers from Literacy Unlimited were distributing material at the Pointe Claire Shopping Center. I still have one of their pens which I keep close to my heart. I wrestled with making the first phone call because I was scared. Looking back, I am grateful that I made the call.
For the past year and a half, I have been tutored once a week. It has been a thrilling experience. Learning to read and write has enriched my life. I have much more confidence. My daughter has also benefited. It is so cool to be able to read to her every night.
I now have a good relationship with my family and friends who are all very supportive. My future looks a whole lot brighter now.
[This story was taken with permission, from 2007 Recognition Awards for Adult Literacy - Submissions, published by the Centre for Literacy of Quebec.]