News & Blog: Learner Stories


This post was written by Jamie Lesman, an AmeriCorps Family Literacy Tutor

Chandra came to Grand Rapids with her family in 2012 as a refugee. She was born in Bhutan and had lived in Nepal for many years chandra copybefore coming to West Michigan. I first met Chandra at a South Godwin Head Start open house and we began our language literacy journey together in September.

During our tutoring session, we talk, listen and exchange ideas about each other’s lives, which has a strong impact on both of us. We share motherhood together, experiences of living in other countries, and the ideas of empowering our daughters by showing them what it takes to be a strong and independent woman through literacy. Chandra also volunteers at a local international church to help fellow refugee women as a Nepali interpreter.

Chandra was looking for employment opportunities that would fit with her family schedule, so we searched jobs together on the computer in the library. We visited Horrocks Market where Chandra submitted an application. We also went to Target to obtain an application. All these experience we shared together demonstrate her resiliency, which shapes who she is today.

I asked Chandra what she felt about herself since we began tutoring. Here are a few words she used to describe her emotions, “hopeful, trusting, independent, confident, empowering and embracing.” And on May 23, Chandra started her new job at WAR Chest Boutique in Wyoming, MI!

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