Dawn and Michelle

Dawn (Tutor) and Michelle (Student)

Team Work At Its Best

Transforming lives is a stated goal of the Blue Ridge Literacy Council. And yes, this occurs with improvement in reading, writing and English communication. What is unstated is how the lives of a student and tutor are transformed through their work together. Test scores measure students’ literacy growth and progress and are instrumental in verifying the success of the BRLC’s programs. Yet, there is no single test or paper certificate that can measure and capture the tremendous bond that is forged between a student and tutor. When that happens, lives are transformed and true change happens.

True change is expressed best by Michelle, my student, who says that in the 21/2 years we have worked together she “grew as a person”. Unquestionably her reading comprehension “grew” four grade levels within 9 months! But more importantly is the intangible growth that Michelle has made. Again in her own words: “I am willing to try to new things; I am able to speak out; and I am motivated to set new goals for myself”.

In the same breath, Michelle says to me: “We are a team. We can laugh together, cry together and most of all have fun together.” Michelle and I do have a special bond. As she grows in her confidence so do I.  As she is willing to try new things, so am I. For example, we explored computer classes at the Library. We volunteered at the BRCC’s book fair. We sold the book Voices at Hendersonville’s Garden Festival. We completed the job certificate pretesting offered by NC Works. We are currently taking a course at BRCC about the Heritage and History of Henderson County. We are exploring volunteering options at Elizabeth House. And, I will go with Michelle when she bravely and resolutely attends the orientation prior to applying to the Certified Nursing Aide program at BRCC.

Together we have journeyed along paths each of us would never have taken alone. As Michelle says, “Together, we have come a long way in a short time!” Her new experiences are my new experiences. Her personal growth reflects my personal growth. Her true joy in our friendship is my true joy.

Our experience with the Blue Ridge Literacy Council continues as a Win-Win for both of us. Yet, I suspect our shared story is not unique. The lives of so many of the Literacy Council’s students and tutors have been forever changed by their work together. This is transformation in its truest sense.