DCLC News & Notes
July/August 2021............. In this issue...
  • DCLC Profile: Student Theresa Green Pursues Culinary Dreams
  • DCLC News: Save the DateOctober 20 is Expert Academy Telethon
  • Insights to Share: Better Education Leads to Better Employment
DCLC Profile: Student Theresa Green Perseveres,
Keeps Culinary Dreams in Sight
by Sally Sapega

Theresa Green learned many things in high school. Above all, she learned that she possesses the strength and resolve to overcome extreme obstacles.

Theresa graduated high school when she was 18, but the road to this milestone was anything but smooth. At 14, right after completing her freshman year, she gave birth to a daughter conceived from a brutal attack. Then, in her junior year, she spent a month in the hospital battling a serious infection. Throughout Theresa’s school years a learning disability significantly impeded her ability to read. On top of all this, people at school kept telling Theresa she’d never make it through to graduation.

But Theresa is a fighter who refused to quit. She was living with her great-aunt who was cheering her on, and she had a daughter she couldn’t let down. Motivated by these family connections, she kept pushing herself and finally reached her goal of graduation.

And there were bright spots during Theresa’s difficult time in high school. For one, she discovered her passion for cooking. Says Theresa, “I took a class in culinary arts. We learned to prep and cook for teachers. I loved it!”

After graduating from high school, Theresa worked at Wendy’s, but she knew she wanted more. Living on her own with three kids, she wanted to be more financially secure. “I wanted to get ahead,” she remembers.

With her dream of being a chef still vivid in her mind, Theresa began studying the culinary arts through the Wilmington Job Corps. In one year, she had completed their culinary course and even won their Expo competition. The prize was a scholarship to attend a cooking school in Connecticut, but because she was 7½ months pregnant with her son, she had to turn it down. Theresa still appreciates the experience. “I was so excited,” she says. “I got to meet some big chefs!”

Tackling Reading with DCLC
Theresa now had her high school diploma and a culinary certification, but her inability to read well was holding her back.

A huge barrier to moving ahead in her career was obtaining the SafeServ cooking safety certification that is required of all chefs. She struggled with reading the book of safety rules.

Enter Delaware County Literacy Council (DCLC) and tutor Maureen Fleming. For more than five years, the two worked together to get Theresa’s reading increased to an 8th grade level. Her learning disability, Fleming says, stemmed from not hearing the words properly. “Most teaching methods focus on phonics—it’s all about hearing,” says Maureen.

Maureen tried a different approach called syllabication that helped Theresa break down the words into syllables. “We started with her reading word lists, from very easy words and gradually to harder ones," says Maureen.

Theresa liked the drills and slowly could see her success as she learned more. “Maureen helped me focus and look at life differently,” she says. “I love my tutor!”

And their work together also helped Theresa reach one of her goals. With her improved reading, Theresa was able to take a community college course and tackle the SafeServ book of safety rules so she could be certified. “If you can read, it’s the key to life,” Theresa declares.

This March, with help from Wilma Guzman-Perez, DCLC Employment coach, Theresa landed a job as a line cook at Maris Grove retirement community. Her ultimate dream is to have her own business.

“I want to own a double-deck food bus and travel around,” she says. “People will eat on the bus! My grandfather and I are working on a blueprint.” She hopes to use catering as a way to earn money to fund her dream.

And Theresa will also use her hard-won experience and inner strength to pursue this dream.

As Theresa puts it, “Life is about not being afraid.”

This is an abridged version of this article. Read the full article here.
Expert Academy Online Telethon, October 20, 2021
DCLC inivites you to learn from the experts online at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, October 20, 2021. Join us for a free virtual Telethon that will feature three fun and exciting workshops by accomplished professionals with connections to Delaware County.

Here are the experts that will be sharing their knowledge on October 20:

Emmy-Winning TV Writer and Producer Phil Rosenthal will share insights on comedy writing that will show you how to transform your life experiences into a TV sitcom.

Phil Rosenthal created and produced the hit CBS comedy Everybody Loves Raymond. He is also the host and creator of the current Netflix series Somebody Feed Phil, an unscripted documentary series combining his love of food and travel with his unique brand of humor. His early writing credits include Down the Shore and Coach. Phil’s comedy-writing workshop will be moderated by his wife, Monica Horan Rosenthal, who starred as Amy MacDougall Barone in Everybody Loves Raymond and who is a native of Delaware County.

Broadway Performer Kathy Dietch will demonstrate vocal techniques that prove "Anyone Can Sing." 

Kathy Deitch made her Broadway debut in the original cast of Footloose and later created the role of Shen Shen in the smash Broadway hit Wicked. She made her L.A. acting debut at the Hollywood Bowl in Rent, directed by Neil Patrick Harris. Kathy also appeared in Silence! The Musical (L.A. Weekly Award), American Horror Story: Freak Show on the FX network, and the thriller Loft. She is a Ridley Park native and a Cardinal O'Hara graduate.

Chef Alex Garfinkel will demonstrate how to prepare high-end mouthwatering tapas.

Alex Garfinkel is the chef and co-owner of Balboa Catering in North Philadelphia. Since completing his culinary arts degree at The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College, Alex has traveled far and wide, undergoing a journey of gastronomical discovery alongside elite chefs on two continents. Balboa Catering started in Alex's parents' kitchen in Wallingford, with the exciting task of catering for the movie Creed, which was filming in Philadelphia.

Join us for this annual fundraising event that celebrates lifelong learning, inspiring literacy champions, and student successes. There will even be a few surprises! For more information on DCLC's Expert Academy Online Telethon, click here.
More Education Helps Workers
Land Jobs and Get Better Pay
According to ProLiteracy's Adult Basic Education brochure, workers age 25 and over who have less education than a high school diploma had the highest unemployment rate (5.4 percent) and lowest median weekly earnings ($592) in 2019 among those at all education levels.

And the situation got worse in 2020. The recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic saw adults with less than a high school diploma suffer the highest unemployment rate compared to all other education levels during 2020.

Investing in adult education can give people in our community better job prospects. This investment is also good for state budgets in the long run, since workers with higher incomes contribute more through taxes over the course of their lifetimes.

For sources, and more information, see the brochure here.
DCLC helps local adults who have not finished high school to improve their skills, prepare for the GED, and undertake a job search. Information on enrolling in DCLC's programs can be found here.