Selected Success Stories

Harvey Robinson: The gold shines through

Reading tutor and adult student

AACLC Tutor, Charles Fort, and Student, Harvey Robinson

Harvey Robinson, 47, grew up in one of the roughest parts of Washington, D.C. and quit going to school after the eighth grade. He never learned to read. “I used to lie and tell them that as a child I got lead poisoning,” Robinson said. Robinson became interested in learning to read about two years ago, when he went to take the GED and a counselor told him he needed to call the Literacy Council. Since then, Robinson has been meeting with his tutor each week and feels a lot more confident about his reading skills. He’s even taken to watching “Jeopardy” and doing word games. “We have all got gold in us,” he said, “and we just have to dig deeper to see it.”

By Earl Kelly, 3/14/2011, reprinted with permission of the Capital Gazette newspaper.

Charles Fort is Robinson’s AACLC tutor.

A Tutor’s Adult Literacy Success Story

Maggie Cullman, one of our treasured AACLC volunteer tutors, tells this heartwarming account of two students—Rose and Lan—whose lives have been changed for the better through Maggie’s dedication and the work of AACLC.Maggie Cullman with her two students, Rose and Lan

My current student, Rose, is a married woman with grown children.  Her story dates back to the US involvement in Vietnam. Rose’s father had worked for the Americans, and was imprisoned by the new regime after the Communist victory.  Rose and her siblings were not permitted to attend school at all.

When I first met Rose, she was extremely shy; barely speaking a word, she kept her head down and eyes withdrawn. Two years into our tutoring relationship, she is

friendly, chatty, and full of smiles. Her spoken language is serviceable and she reads at Laubach level III. Because she had received no education in any language prior to our time together, teaching Rose reading skills without the benefit of a shared language has been a rewarding challenge.

My second student, Lan, came to me when she was in her early 20s. She’d had a good secondary education in Vietnam, and showed lots of enthusiasm and drive. The only thing she lacked was English skills. I consider myself fortunate to have been able to help provide her with the linguistic keys to get ahead. Less than 3 years after we began working together, she left me to attend Anne Arundel Community College–while still working full-time at the salon and becoming engaged to a charming young man. After graduating last spring, she’s already working on completing a four-year degree through the University of Maryland. It’s been exciting and extraordinarily meaningful for me to help these individuals achieve their potential. I’m most grateful for the opportunity to do it.