23Jul 15

Pat Cooley Blog

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I taught English for over 30 years, but it wasn’t until I met Lucinda that I truly understood the power of words.

Lucinda had a difficult life. Forced to leave school at a young age to care for her sick mother, she always regretted never receiving the education she had always dreamed of. Like so many other adults who find themselves navigating our world without education, Lucinda struggled.

She used to cry herself to sleep, wishing things had been different.

Then, in her 70s, Lucinda made a choice that changed both of our lives forever.

Lucinda made the call to get help. And when I received the call that an adult learner was looking for a tutor, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to continue to teach. I had since retired and had been doing some tutoring already, but I knew this was a rare and special opportunity for me to use my passion for teaching to make an incredible difference.

READ Saskatoon helped match me with Lucinda nearly a decade ago, and together we have both grown and learned so much. I’m amazed by how she has come alive through language. Lucinda has been empowered not only with her new literacy skills, but with a new kind of self-confidence that encourages her to try bigger and better things. This experience is not only rewarding for me, but has deeply enriched my life.

This kind of magic happens every day when a tutor and learner work together. READ Saskatoon programming is a gift to all those involved. For learners, it is a chance to attain the skills they need to reach far beyond anything they dreamed possible. For tutors like me, it is the opportunity to use my skills and love of teaching.

Lucinda eagerly jumped at her opportunity for education. Just this past spring, at the age of 79, I was present when she received her GED. I sat in a crowd of her classmates, friends and community members who are all just as proud of her as I am.

But no one is more proud than Lucinda. It was her drive and perseverance that got her here.