One of the very first learners I was matched with was a young woman named Sah. Sah came from Burma to the United States as a refugee after spending many years in a refugee camp. She sought out the services of the Literacy Center because she wanted to improve her English conversation and reading skills in order to be able to help her child succeed in school and to find meaningful work. At first I was admittedly nervous to meet with someone who had overcome so much in their short life, but Sah’s kind demeanor and welcoming smile during our first lesson immediately put any anxieties I had to rest.
Sah was an eager and intelligent learner. We made great progress in the first few weeks of lessons. Once becoming more comfortable with her English skills, Sah revealed to me her desire to become a United States citizen. Upon hearing this we decided to incorporate U.S. Citizenship test questions into our weekly lessons. After many weeks of hard work, Sah finally felt confident enough to schedule her citizenship test and interview. I waited eagerly for our following meeting to hear the results. Of course, as soon as I laid eyes upon Sah her face lit up with a smile and she told me that she had passed her test. We then spoke about how hard she had worked and how excited she was to attend the citizenship ceremony and take the Oath of Citizenship. In that moment we celebrated in our shared victory together.
Before being offered a position with the Literacy Center I had never known what it meant to make a lasting positive impact on someone’s life. The Literacy Center has provided me with meaning and purpose in this formative stage of my existence. Looking beyond this moment, this position has instilled upon me a community oriented mindset and a strong belief that all that is necessary to create change is just one person who cares.