Saturday July 10, 2pm – Memoir
Lives of Struggle: Adult Learners Write for Change
Adult learners at the YMCA Education & Technology Center have written a collection of memoirs. These students have overcome any number of barriers to share their stories of returning to school, raising families, fighting addiction, navigating the world as developing readers, and setting goals for the future. Their stories have heart and grit. They provide a voice for other adult learners facing similar challenges and insight for anyone unaware of their struggle. For every reader, each of these stories can be a lesson and a gift.
Angela – “She didn’t bother to ask like some teachers do. I said to myself, ‘This teacher is crazy.’ The rest of the day in class my ear was swollen…”
Eddie – “I had to find out the hard way that when you are down, you get back up and start over again. That’s the way I’m doing it…”
Falina – “We called for the doctor to come and help me. The doctor told me to push. I did. Then he told me to push again, so I did…”
Fofana – “Since it was a buffet restaurant, you could eat anything you wanted. I had steak, salmon, mashed potatoes, and many more foods. I loved the way they cooked the steak. It was so delicious, and the salmon too. I also had dessert, banana cake. Oh my god, I wish I could eat there again…”
Juanita – “I tried everything I could. I hit her back, grabbed her, and gave her a couple pushes to the belly to try to save my baby girl. I was not giving up on her…”
Keith – “I just knew I had street smarts and I could get around you. I can pick up a book and act like I’m reading and you think I’m reading. I would get a paper and just sit on the porch and act like I was reading. I wasn’t even reading…”
Luis – “Some days I ate, some days I didn’t eat anything. Every day I went to sleep at 6 AM, and I got up 6 PM. Every day I felt more crazy. I made the resolution that if I didn’t want to go to jail, I needed to go to another place…”
Nakia – “Accomplishing these goals is important to me because I would like to get a job that I can be proud of and have my children be proud of me too. To see them smile at something good that I have done and finished feels very good…”
Delphine – “When I was thirteen years old, I won the Olympics. My teacher, Mrs. Cauphler, got me in the Olympics in 1975. I came in second place…”
Bogdan – “When I was a kid growing up in Communist Poland after World War II, the most I remember about my father is America. America this and America that…”
James – “For the rest of my life I want to help other people get where they would like to be in their lives so they can be happy and help someone else…”
Nicole – “I am going to tell my story about how I am living life to the fullest so that everyone knows that living life to the fullest doesn’t always have to be about sitting around and not doing anything at all…”
Rhonda – “I went in a shelter until my house came through. I was so happy for me and my daughter. I was afraid that something would happen to her, but she was all right…”
Roosevelt – “I am trying to work. I go to school. I am trying to read. I am trying to have faith in the Lord…”
Shelley – “It was hard back in those days, working two and three jobs, plus raising five children, so I guess my father turned to alcohol to cope with life’s ups and downs…”
Ronna – “There were flowers there that I’d never seen before. There were big and little flowers. This one flower stands out in my head. It was about as big as my hand, and it was beautiful…”
Teddy – “My father was one of the hardest people to get up and dance, so I knew that if I could get him to dance, I could get almost anybody to dance…”
Tere – “When my sister called me to tell me she was joining the Army, I felt like my heart stopped beating…”
Tiffanie – “I can’t believe that when I was walking back and forth in labor, my husband asked me if I wanted to lay down and take a nap…”
The vision of the YMCA Education & Technology Center is to serve adults, youth, and families throughout the city of Philadelphia by offering quality programming that assists them in improving their literacy, English proficiency, employability, and technology skills.
Visit our website at www.philaymca.org/education-technology-center.