Success StoriesSong Yean Cho
Song Yean Cho grew up and completed high school in Korea. She and her family came to the United States almost fourteen years ago. Song joined the Boulder Valley Family Literacy Program (of which BoulderReads!is a partner) in January 2001, after she had an emotionally frustrating experience in a grocery store where the clerk was inconsiderate of her attempt to speak English. Song left in tears and vowed to herself that she would learn English in order to become more independent. Since joining BoulderReads!Song has had four tutors who have taught her how to fill out forms, read the newspaper, improve her pronunciation, and use computers. She has improved her comprehension, fluency and enjoyment of reading in English. Song is much more comfortable speaking to her daughter's teachers, attending teacher/parent conferences and helping her children with their homework. Song has also created three books through BoulderReads!' art & writing workshops. Because of her dedication and hard work in the family literacy program, she was awarded the 2005 Outstanding Student award from the Colorado Adult Education Professional Association. Song's three daughters have also directly benefited from BoulderReads!as they have been enthusiastically involved in the Reading Buddies program for several years. Song would like to be a certified nurse's assistant and has plans to begin the C.N.A. program at Front Range Community College in the near future.
Martin Araujo was born in Guanahuato, Mexico; he was the youngest of six children. When he was twelve, he left school to work full-time. During these years, he worked in a shoe factory, a grocery store and a hardware store. Martin has been enrolled in BoulderReads!for a year and a half and during that time he has worked with two literacy tutors, Larissa Read and Becki Perna. Through his work with them, he has improved his basic skills in phonics, grammar, spelling, sight word recognition, vocabulary, decoding using context clues, comprehension, reading fluency and speed, penmanship and basic writing skills. Through his studying, he has enriched himself as a parent, as an employee, and as a civic-minded person. As a parent, he now helps his son with reading, writing and computer work. He reads aloud to his children. He talks to his son's teachers at school. He fills out school paperwork such as enrollment forms. He encourages his wife and children to read books at the library while he is meeting with his tutors and he is also motivating his wife to start working on her own reading and writing in English. As an employee, his work on reading, writing, and speaking skills have improved his phone skills, his ability to read recipes, his ability to place orders on the computer as well as his ability to supervise other employees. He has been promoted four times at the Cheesecake Factory from dishwasher to prep cook to line cook to steward and now to supervisor. For himself, he has learned how to read maps and highway signs and he is not hesitant to ask people for directions. He can now use a dictionary, read medicine labels, read and send email, conduct Internet searches, and read the newspaper. He now reads for fun and has participated in the BoulderReads!book club. As a civic-minded person, Martin has spoken to potential literacy tutors about how they can best help their students. He has spoken to the Boulder Valley School Board about the importance of Latino parents being involved in their children's education, and he is helping people who don't speak English by translating for them. Martin wants to continue to improve his reading and writing so that one day he will be able to tutor another person to help them improve their own life. For all these accomplishments, Martin Araujo was honored by Boulder Rotary in 2005 as an Outstanding Adult Learner.
Rick Seeley, age 51, was born in Binghamton, N.Y. Rick's mother was an alcoholic and his father was out of the picture. He stopped going to school the day two of his friends brought his mother home after they found her passed out on the corner. With less than a sixth grade education, he was fortunate to get a job with IBM through their jobs for disadvantaged youth program. He was trained to read blueprints and slowly worked his way up in the company. Eventually, though, he knew that his job responsibilities involved more reading and writing skills than he had and he was afraid that in corporate downsizing he would lose his job. He came toBoulderReads!at age 38 in hopes of improving his skills well enough to keep his job. After four years of tutoring, he had improved his skills so much that he realized he did not have to keep his job, he could fulfill his dream of opening his own small business. He has been the successful owner of Rick's Upholstery for more than ten years. Rick has also testified to the Colorado Legislature in support of literacy legislation, appeared in a literacy-related public service announcement with Governor Romer, and was honored as an Outstanding Adult Learner by the Boulder Rotary Club in 2001.
Matt Bassman, age 25, grew up in Boulder. He felt that the teachers in school were not able to give him the extra assistance he needed when things did not make sense. As the years went on, he got more and more frustrated and eventually stopped learning altogether. Around the age of 21, Matt decided to do something for himself and enroll in BoulderReads! He has worked for six years with a tutor and has improved his reading and writing to the point where he now reads for pleasure, he writes stories for the Discoveries book (published by BoulderReads!), and has received a number of job promotions. Matt was honored as an Outstanding Adult Learner by the Boulder Rotary Club in May, 2002.
Janet Turner, age 81, grew up in Eatonton, Georgia. Janet went to school at a time when schools were not routinely available for black children unless someone in the African American community took the initiative to set one up. In Janet's case, the only teacher they had was a woman with a ninth grade education and there were so few books that no one could ever take one home. Furthermore, Janet missed a lot of school because she was the oldest of 12 children and often had to stay home to care for them. At the age of 69 Janet enrolled in BoulderReads!with the goal of being able to read the Bible and hymns. She worked with 7 tutors over ten years and not only achieved those goals, but she read all 300 of the small literacy books in the BoulderReads!collection and wrote her memoirs, now published in "The Sharecropper's Daughter." Janet Turner has been featured in two Daily Camera articles and was honored as an Outstanding Adult Learner by Boulder Rotary Club in September, 2001. Janet's book is available for $11.95 through major book stores and online. Visit your favorite store (or its Web page) and ask for Janet Driskell Turner's "Through the Back Door: Memoirs of a Sharecropper's Daughter who Learned to Read as a Great Grandmother".
Vasko Iliev, age 25, grew up in Russe, Bulgaria. After arriving in the U.S. in 1998, Vasko immediately set about getting a job, improving his English skills, and working his way up into management positions. Then he spent two years working with a tutor in BoulderReads!and improved his reading and writing so much that he was accepted into a 5 year program for journeyman apprenticeship and training. He continues to be one of the top students in that program and he is proud that he will now be able to read aloud to his child, due in January. Vasko was honored as an Outstanding Adult Learner by Boulder Rotary Club in January, 2002.
Bahiyeh Setareh, age 40 grew up in Tehran, Iran and came to the U.S. to escape religious persecution in her country. After enrolling in BoulderReads!to improve her reading and writing, Bahiyeh got a job, passed her driver's license test, had an article about immigration published in a national literacy magazine, learned to complete all kinds of paperwork required in America, now reads to her children, and is now taking classes at Front Range Community College. Bahiyeh was honored as an Outstanding Adult Learner by Boulder Rotary Club in March, 2002.
Corinthia Turner, age 50, came to BoulderReads!with the goal of passing the driver's license test. She achieved that and then set the goal of being accepted into cosmetology school. She achieved that and set the goal of passing the two-year program. She achieved that (getting A's and B's and being honored as an outstanding learner) and set the goal of passing the written state board exam. She achieved that and set the goal of using the classified ads and successfully completing job applications to get a job as a stylist. She achieved that and set the goal of passing the written state board exam for barber school. She achieved that and set the goal of getting a better job. She achieved that and set the goal of owning her own small styling business. She achieved that and now is a business owner. Corinthia was honored by the Colorado Department of Education in Portraits, a 1996 publication featuring outstanding adult learners in Colorado. Corinthia Turner's age was 39 at the time of her enrollment at BoulderReads!and her home town was Richmond Heights, Florida.