For many of our students, choosing to come to Indy Reads is about much more than just learning how to read. Our students are often looking to find a better or more permanent job, increase their ability to read their own mail and pay their bills, or gain the skills to take their driver’s license test.
For Michelle, January’s IndyGo Student of the Month, choosing Indy Reads is about keeping her promises.
Michelle grew up in Louisville, Ky., as a self-described “wild kid.” At the time, school was not an encouraging place for her. “They didn’t take time out to go over words with me,” she says. “They just passed me along to get me out of the classroom.”
After being passed along too many times, gaining reading skills didn’t seem feasible to Michelle until adulthood when she met her husband.
“He was a very encouraging man.”
Eventually, she and her husband moved from their native Louisville to Indianapolis, then to Las Vegas, then back to Indianapolis a few years ago. During this time, Michelle’s husband and son would read to her to help her understand everything from everyday words to new slang and colloquialisms. He never wanted anyone to take advantage of Michelle for not being able to read, and neither did she.
Michelle’s husband passed away a couple of years ago, and she knew then that she needed to continue learning how to read. “When my husband was alive, we always had a thing about me learning how to read,” she said. “So before he died I had promised him to go back to school and learn how to read.”
This promise to her late husband was the motivation to move forward with her education. “My husband would tell me, ‘You always learn until it is the time to go,’” Michele says. “‘Never stop learning.’”
Honoring her promise to her husband of 27 years inspires Michelle to gain those much-needed reading skills, and her son, siblings, and mother encourage her to achieve her goals. “Them encouraging me made me want to do it even more,” Michelle says.
Courtney Keating, Indy Reads Student Navigator and Instructor says, “Michelle is a joy to have in class. She is just one of those students that is always ready to tackle the work and is everyone’s friend. I don’t think there’s a person in class that hasn’t benefited from having Michelle in class. Seeing her progress through the material is motivating for not only her, but to the other students — and most definitely me.”
Michelle is proud of herself every week as she continues to become a better reader. She’s looking forward to further improving her skills, getting her high school equivalency (HSE), and eventually moving on to college courses!
Michelle’s story is a reminder to us at Indy Reads that no matter where you are in your life, never stop learning. And, to anyone considering enrolling with Indy Reads, she has a simple recommendation: “Go for it and you can’t lose.”
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.