Since 2014, The 11-10-02 Foundation has funded First Literacy scholarships for adult learners. This March, The 11-10-02 Foundation’s founder, Greg Forbes Siegman, traveled to Boston to keynote the 21st Century Academic Forum at Harvard – a conference for educators and researchers from different countries. During each day of his trip, he spent time with one of The 11-10-02 Foundation First Literacy scholars. On Day 1, Yamileth and her daughter joined Siegman for dinner. On Day 2, Siegman hosted a group dinner – combining local Boston friends and some of the international attendees from the conference. Sherrie was one of the dinner guests, giving her a chance to meet people from countries like South Africa, Iraq, Turkey and Philippines. Below, Sherrie reflects on her experience having dinner with Siegman. On Day 3, Prakrit joined Siegman and a guest at MIT Media Lab, where they participated as subjects in a study of the human brain.
A Night to Remember, by Sherrie
March 22nd, 2016 will be forever etched in my memory. On that night, I was invited to attend a group dinner hosted by Greg Forbes Siegman. He is the Founder of The 11-10-02 Foundation, which gave me a college scholarship through my involvement with First Literacy. Greg was in Boston to speak at a conference at Harvard for researchers and educators from different countries. On this night, he hosted a dinner at a popular local restaurant called Zaftig’s. The group included his local Boston-area friends as well as some of the attendees from the conference. I was one of the people he invited. It turned out to be 20 people representing 11 nations at our tables – from USA to Uganda, from Turkey to South Africa. Many of them were extraordinary professionals in the field of education. I have never experienced so many complex and opposing emotions at the same time. My emotions ran from excitement to disbelief to nervous to happy. I questioned my presence there. Heck I am out my league, I thought. I pinched myself to confirm that I was not dreaming. (What a disappointment that would have been). In fact, I had no reason to doubt myself. I was welcomed and engulfed in the group as if I was a longtime friend. I was engrossed in the various conversations going on around the table. For such a diverse group, no one stopped to think that they were better than the others. Or what an adult community college student is doing in their midst. I was able to seize the opportunity to highlight some of the wonderful work that First Literacy is doing to assist and improve the lives of adults in Massachusetts by empowering them with financial and emotional support to gain a college education. Without my affiliation with First Literacy, I would not know Greg and would not have had the opportunity to make these international friendships – which allow me to inform others about the wonderful work that is being done by First Literacy. I will remember this day for the rest of my life. In those few hours, I learned so many things about different aspects of the world we are living in.