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"Life Happens" but Literacy for Life Empowers

"People have things that happen in their lives that make it hard for them to complete their education. I'm speaking from experience. Life happens. Things happen."

Sabrina Walker would have preferred to attend college decades ago, but family responsibilities took priority. "I was a mom. I was wife. I was an employee in the federal government," she reflects. "I never had time for me."

Now that her children are grown and she is retired, Sabrina's time has come. She decided to enroll in community college to pursue the education she always wanted. Her reading and writing skills were more than adequate, but (she is first to admit) her math and computer skills were not. She began taking a developmental math class but was discouraged by the model of a self-paced class in a computer lab, with one floating teacher assisting several students. She became anxious and discouraged. Then, with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she withdrew--and her dreams were deferred yet again.

As the pandemic waned and the world began to open up again, Sabrina visited Literacy for Life. She was unsure how she might fit into the program, but due to a friend's enthusiastic recommendation, she came to inquire about services. She was thrilled to learn that math tutoring was an option, and before long, she was matched with her tutor, Pat.

"She was the perfect match for me," says Sabrina. "I have such high regard for her, and I am so grateful for her patience. She takes her time and makes sure I understand. And if I don't understand, she figures out a way to explain." She shakes her head. "Like fractions. I hate fractions." In addition to Pat's patience, Sabrina also appreciates the overall atmosphere at Literacy for Life. "I never felt judged, I never felt less than. Everyone has been so welcoming," she says. "It's a safe space."

With Pat by her side, Sabrina conquered fractions and more, and soon she felt confident enough to enroll at Virginia Peninsula Community College, where she began taking classes this fall. Despite her enthusiasm and newfound confidence, though, Sabrina's limited computer skills quickly became a source of stress. "I mean, it's been a while since I've been in school," she chuckles. Literacy for Life staff offered her a computer tutor, and Sabrina lit up and said, "That would be great!" She looks forward to learning to navigate Canvas--the college's learning management system--as well as how to use common programs like Word.

Word should prove especially valuable for Sabrina, because she loves to write. "People say that I'm good at writing," she says. "I want to be a writer."

"I'm excited for my future," says Sabrina. "I'm not nervous. I'm not anxious. I'm not hesitant." She pauses thoughtfully and adds, "I'm worth it. I deserve it."

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