News & Blog: Learner Stories


Blog Author: Iryna Kalenskaya , Literacy Center Learner 

"Hello.  My name is Iryna. I’m from Ukraine. I lived in a big industrial city of Zaporizhzhia.   I had a stable and peaceful life with my family. There are four of us. I have two kids. My daughter is 13 years-old and son is 11 years-old. I worked as a cosmetologist at the salon. I loved my job.

One day, the war comes into my country. It was the worsen day in my life.  Thousands of lives were destroyed. To protect my kids and my parents I decided to move to the USA. My husband stays in Ukraine. My sister lives in Grand Rapids. That’s why we came here.

I was frustrated and exhausted. I didn’t know what to do. Wait while the war will end or start to build our lives here.

The life in USA is totally different. The first barrier is language. I understood more than I could speak. My friend advised to go to the Literacy Center. I passed a test and started my classes with the best tutor. Her name is Brenda.

She is organized, detail-oriented.  She improved my English proficiency. Brenda sets the goals and achieves them in timely fashion.

She encourages, motivates and makes you understand everything in detail.   Brenda possesses great teaching skills, it helps to communicate with people. It helped me to achieve success in profession environment. I was able to communicate with a 3 person interview with well established medical company. I was hired and start my job soon.

Step by step I gained confidence and I could speak on the phone, made an appointment, visited doctors and communicated with teachers.

I have a lot of work ahead to improve English grammar, writing and reading. But I’m glad that one day I went to the Literacy Center and they helped me to start my way."

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