This post is part two of a three part series made possible by the Writers for Readers program, a partnership between UMKC’s Creative Writing Program & Literacy KC. It gives our students the opportunity to express themselves in new, exciting, and more imaginative ways all while improving basic reading and writing skills. Here are some of the interesting things they had to say:
Samuel: “I can’t work like I used to, and [Literacy KC] eats my whole day up. I was self-employed. I had a stroke in 1999. Then I got cancer. I’ve been doing better, but I’m going backwards – I’m getting older. I’m 73, and I can’t do what I used to do, but I’m really enjoying seeing and doing different things that I’ve never actually done before. Everyone has different reasons for being here. I talked to someone, and she said people always told her she couldn’t do stuff, and it bothered her a lot. She didn’t have siblings, which makes a difference. My siblings always told me I was the best – and now whatever I do, I do it well.
But the school that I went to had no reading and writing in it – zero. My mother got me a tutor at home, and I did great in my life. My dad taught me how to survive. He taught me how to do trees, concrete, electrical work, plumbing work. I never hired anyone who was dumber than me. I only hired people who were smarter than me. I watched them and learned how to do it myself.”
Hinda: “Literacy KC is helpful. I have met helpful people here. I came to the United States in 1990. First we moved to San Diego, and in 2001 I moved to Kansas City. I like it very much. Kansas City is a quiet place for raising children, but I miss the weather in San Diego. I have six children – they’re all grown. I came here for a better life. Since I moved here, I’ve missed my family. The first ten years I felt alone. When you go to a new country, people are different, but my neighborhood is friendly. I’ve never had any problems with my children. I’m lucky. One [child] is in Chicago studying pharmacy. One is a truck driver. The rest live with me, but I grew up with a big family, so I actually feel the house is a little bit empty.”
Liberty: “I came back to school because I wanted to accomplish something that I didn’t accomplish when I was younger. My family wanted me to get my GED so I could get a good-paying job in the future. I have a son, a three-year-old. I like to just hold him and see him smile. I want him to stay in school and say no to negative things and bad friends and listen to his mom. [Getting an education] will show my son that I got myself together for him and accomplished something. It will help the family out with funds for food, shelter and doctor bills. [My dream job is] being an electrician. I have a little experience but not too much. I need to go to school for it.”
Patrick: “I want to learn more and better myself. I wanted to do this since my mother couldn’t spend time with me to do homework to put me ahead. I found [Literacy KC] through my cousin through church. I’ve been coming for six years. I’ve started reading the Bible. I also look up words, find the meaning, and write them down. You can replace a word you don’t know with a word you do know – they mean the same thing. I always say through prayer: Give me strength, patience, courage, knowledge and understanding.”