I want to talk to you about security guards. Not all security guards, but one in particular. The one who works at Richland One Adult Education on Covenant Road, not far from Turning Pages. A few weeks ago, he escorted a disconsolate but proud 39 year-old lady outside after this parent of grown children had missed passing the GED by 3 points, passing all parts of the test except the math section. This security guard saw the heartbreak in her face. And then, he noticed and took the time, not only to console her but to encourage her. He showed her a pamphlet put out by Literacy 2030 which explained Turning Pages and how the organization helps adults with literacy challenges, and recommended that she come to us for help.
Yesterday, she walked through our doors and told us her story. Joseph and I listened in wonder and awe to her quiet, but powerful voice. She was a prison guard who had raised several children to adulthood, putting her own needs and ambitions on the back burner while she raised them single-handed lay, and now finally at the young age of only 40 wanted to go to college so she could attend to her own dreams, attaining a college degree, so she could turn the pages to her own possibilities. Joseph and I immediately called Larry Turner, a USC grad and former engineer, who has been a volunteer for several years, and now is tutoring students in math in the 360 program on Wednesdays. We called Larry and put him on the phone and he graciously offered to help her pass the math section of the GED.
The moral of this story: any of us can make a difference in someone else’s life, if we listen and pay attention to their needs.
Chris Mathews, Director,