We were thrilled when we learned that an anonymous donor had run the 2015 Boston Marathon in honor of First Literacy
and we were even more excited when Adventures in Thumbholes learned about First Literacy because of this mystery runner. The runner chose First Literacy because, “Reading has been one of the greatest gifts and joys of my life, it’s made me who I am and enabled everything. I can’t imagine how challenging it would be as an adult to not be able to read.”
First Literacy now is one of Adventures in Thumbholes’ Small Change Initiative beneficiaries. In April, we are the features Small Change recipient in honor of The Boston Marathon. Read an excerpt from Erin’s interview with our Executive Director Skye Kramer, AT FIRST LITERACY READING IS THEIR THING, below:
Can you share a memorable impact story?
I have a great story to share. It is one of persistence and working hard towards a goal. In 2005, Lana emigrated from China to Boston. While educated in China and able to read and write a little, she spoke no English at all and found the language very difficult. Lana enrolled in an English language program that received First Literacy funding and rapidly progressed until she knew enough English to take the high-school equivalency exam. She passed with flying colors and then was ready to start college with our help.
She received a First Literacy Scholarship in 2006 to support her goal of becoming a dentist, just like her mother in China. She took a job at Dunkin’ Donuts to practice her English (where she happened to meet her husband, who was one of her customers). Fast forward ten years – Lana received her Associates degree from Bunker Hill Community College, her Bachelor’s degree from University of Massachusetts, Boston, and is now enrolled in Tufts Dental School.
Lana has spoken at several First Literacy events and always shares with the audience a poem that has given her strength during her long educational journey:
Only as high as I reach can I grow;
Only as deep as I look can I see;
Only as much as I dream can I be.