Cyclical poverty is a burden far too many of our students have had to endure. All too often, circumstances far, far beyond our students’ control leave them without the education they need to pursue the opportunities — college, a reliable job, access to healthcare — many of us enjoy.
This month’s IndyGo Student of the Month, Candace, came to Indy Reads ready to break out of the cycle of poverty to create the future she wants for herself and her family.
Candace’s struggles with reading became apparent when she was placed in special education classes in middle school, and though she made it through high school she still had trouble reading after she graduated. Her teachers had taught her enough to get by in school, but they did not help develop the resources Candace needed to truly learn.
“When I come to class now it’s refreshing in my memory; like, ‘Oh I know how to do that, but maybe I just didn’t hold onto it!’ I didn’t retain it.”
Still, Candace pressed on and enrolled with a local college; it was here that her lack of literacy skills became a major issue. “I had a hard time. I was there for a year or two and I kept failing my classes,” she explained. “I didn’t really succeed in it, because of my reading.”
Without the reading and comprehension skills needed to succeed in college, Candace was left with limited employment options.
She spent the next few years moving from one dead-end job to the next. Feeling stuck and frustrated, Candace decided to make some changes.
“I hit a dead spot,” she said. “I hit a wall like I want to do more. And, I have a child. In order for us to move somewhere in life, I have to get it done now.” Candace realized that in order to move forward she needed to get to the root of her troubles, saying, “I have to take care of the core, main problem, which is reading.”
“If you want to better your life and quit hitting that wall you have to start with yourself.”
After researching adult education programs, and finding it difficult to pinpoint a program that was the right fit, she came across Indy Reads. Once she spoke with student navigator Chris Simmons, she knew Indy Reads was the right place for her, “Right after I got off the phone I turned to my sister and I was just excited!”
Now in Indy Reads’ literacy classes, and having just completed our brand-new customer service certification program, Candace is an exemplary student. Her instructor, Sarika, says, “Candace is amazing! She’s an incredibly promising student. I feel very lucky that Candace joined my class!”
Earlier in her life Candace didn’t even want to read. But now she’s beginning to experience the joy of reading and learning, spending time with her nephew and helping him learn new vocabulary and spelling.
“Candace is new to the Indy Reads program,” says Chris. “She came in with a fire to better herself. She said by doing so it would better her family life. By stretching herself, she said she is learning that nothing comes easy.”
Candace realized that she needed to take steps to care for herself first. She says, “If you want to better your life and quit hitting that wall you have to start with yourself.”
Indy Reads is proud to partner with IndyGo to support students in the Community Classrooms program. Watch for more student stories in each month’s newsletter, and catch Routes 19, 38, or 39 to visit Indy Reads at the Central Library, or Routes 11 or 21 to visit Indy Reads Books! All route and trip information is available at indygo.net.