July 17, 2006
The following story was written by Jamie Garland, from St. George's, Newfoundland and Labrador. Jamie is enrolled in literacy classes at the Bay St. George Learning Centre in Stephenville, which is on the West coast. She was born in the Bonavista Bay area of Newfoundland, on the Northeastern coast. Jamie has a young daughter and this was the main reason she went back to school to be able to read books to her daughter Desiree, and to have a better life.
I was born and raised in Newman's Cove, Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland, 25 years ago. I had a good life there, with a caring family and lots of friends. Reading was a problem for me from early on. Teachers and friends would read for me and I relied on my memory for the answers for exams. They would advance me every year, even though I couldn't read.
I have 3 sisters and 1 brother. They are Mary, Laurie, Estilitta and Austin. My mom was Gertrude and my father is Jim. They all tried to help me with my reading. After my mom passed away, we moved to St. George's, on the west coast of Newfoundland.
I attended St. Joseph's High in grade 12. A few weeks before final exams, teachers told me I should quit because they didn't give verbal tests. Having to quit school after all the years of struggling was heart breaking. It felt like my whole youth was a waste of time.
After my baby, Desiree, was born, I worked for a few years in Fort Mc Murray, Alberta. It was very hard for a single mom with a literacy problem to maintain a healthy living for myself and my daughter.
Not being able to read bedtime stories to my daughter was the main reason I went back to school. Also, a better education would lead to a higher paying job, and enable me to afford more things for her. But the best gift I can give her is to pick up a book and read to her. That's what makes all this worth it.
Being in school at this time in my life, sometimes has its challenges. But you have to face all challenges with the determination to succeed. Knowing I am at least trying to make a difference in my life, makes me feel very proud.
I have better speaking skills, I get to travel and meet new people. I have an award for trying my best at school. My self-esteem is up. I can teach things to my daughter and read to my daughter a lot more, now that I am in school.
People and the government should continue their support for adult programs because with learning comes education, which leads to better paying jobs, better quality of life and a more secure family environment.
I know my daughter will have a good education, I will make sure of it so she doesn't have to struggle with literacy. She will be able to look to her mom's deeds as inspiration. My family and friends still encourage and support my decision to become more literate. But in the end, you only get positive results back, if you put an effort in. I'm putting my whole life into this effort at being a student and I hope to get a real life back.
Being a student with a child is hard. Being away from her all day is a worry. Then coming home and doing homework, housework and trying to spend time with her is sometimes exhausting and tough. You have no leisure time at all. Frustration is a big concern.
With all the activity, you sometime wonder to yourself, if it's worth it. Then you look at what you gained so far and you know that the hard work is all worth it. I will have a better future because of my education. My daughter will have a better future because of my education. That makes all the hard work worthwhile.