When you read the stories below about our students we hope it brings a smile, and recognition for all the work that our teachers and tutors do to support our learners.
Our work and students are again under threat. Governor Wolf has proposed cutting support for adult and family literacy education by $800,000 in the state budget for 2017-2018. This will definitely mean a reduction in state funding for Center for Literacy (CFL) and will dramatically affect our new ESL Family Literacy program operating in two South Philadelphia elementary schools,
Center for Literacy ESL alumnus Thong Dihn, 26, dropped by in mid-January to share good news with his former teacher, Mitch Berger. He is on a path to become a Catholic priest.
Thong came to the U.S. in 2012 from Vietnam with his mother, father, three brothers and four sisters. He is the second to the youngest child, and had completed high school in Vietnam, when his family emigrated and moved to Southwest Philadelphia. He started ESL classes with CFL the following year at the South Philadelphia Library, then moved to classes at 399 Market.
James Hendricks, 56, is a truck driver who has been on the road for 12 years. He wanted to improve the quality of his life by passing his high school equivalency test. "I needed a GED to apply for a higher paying job at a bigger company. It would also help me get a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) which I do not have now," he said. In September 2016 he was one of the first to enroll in Center for Literacy (CFL)'s Fast Track GED program.
Esperanza Zambrano has spent half of her life in Columbia, with the other half in the United States. Now 60 years old, she is looking for work. In Columbia she studied architecture, but then moved to the U.S. and was unable to practice architecture in the U.S. without the credentials. She divorced her husband and worked two jobs to support her daughter, who is now 31 years old, and her father and mother, living in Florida, Georgia, Virginia and Pennsylvania.