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Claira Freeman is an AmeriCorps Volunteer Recruiter for the Family Literacy Program. Part of her role is to arrange for volunteers to participate in the family activity nights and graduation events. We are thrilled that Claira is continuing her AmeriCorps service with us next year.

It is the end of the program year for Family Literacy Program and graduations for our classes are in full swing. Being half way through graduations, I was having a great time and really enjoying seeing all of the families come together and commemorate their accomplishments. The next one up was Sibley and I was sure that this one would not disappoint in terms of food, family, and fun.

Whole families—including grandma and grandpa—came out to support and celebrate the adult learners who just completed a year’s worth of English classes. One learner, Amelito Diaz, asked off work to be at the graduation and he brought his whole family, including his mom and dad. They were dressed in full regalia for the occasion and you could tell that they were proud and happy to be there.

As the potluck died down, people still stayed to chat and hang out with each other. There was a real sense of authentic community building, watching the instructor, volunteers, and multiple generations sit and discuss everything from the past class year to what was going on in the neighborhood.

After most families had left and the rest of the team was cleaning up, Amelito and his family started to walk out. His parents, who had dressed up the most and worked the hardest come, came up to me and some of the volunteers to say a formal goodbye. They kissed us on the cheek and thanked us with a native Guatemalan phrase. As they walked out with their family, you could see the three generations who had come together to celebrate literacy and community as a family. To me, it exemplified our program perfectly. Another great graduation had ended and with the help of a beautiful school, people, and potluck, I felt as though we couldn’t have upheld family literacy better than we did that night. 

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