When Kasandra and her 3-year-old daughter Keliany came to YWCA New Britain in 2017, Keliany was still drinking from a bottle, wearing diapers, unable to communicate in English, and didn’t play well with other children.
But that all changed when Kasandra began classes as an adult GED student and Keliany started preschool through our Family Literacy program, which offers free GED and ESL classes.
Kasandra originally began taking classes for something to do and as a social outlet. At first, she thought the class was hard and was afraid she would never pass the tests she needed to in order to earn her GED. She was shy and afraid to ask for help.
But as time passed and she watched others succeed, she gained motivation, began to apply herself more to studying, and got the extra help she needed. Kasandra says that her teachers and friends in class provided advice and encouragement so she would keep on going. “The faith they have in me has helped me to gain confidence in myself.”
At the same time, while Kasandra is in class, Keliany has been in preschool, taking part in activities preparing her for kindergarten. They also come together for playgroups, story time, music, and crafts. All these activities play a role in bringing families together around education and furthering literacy.
Now after two years of programming, Keliany speaks English very well for her age, is no longer using diapers or drinking from a bottle, and has made lots of friends. She reads, counts, paints, and enjoys coloring pictures. Kasandra is very proud of her daughter because “she is very smart!” She is confident Keliany will keep growing and learning, and will be ready for kindergarten in the fall.
Kasandra recently passed the first of her four exams and feels ready to complete the others. In addition to helping her with her studies, Kasandra says the Family Literacy program has helped her grow as a person. Over the past two years, participating in the program has helped her to better control her anger, have passion about her goals, and more willingly help others meet their goals. She says, “I thank God for putting me in the path of these amazing people, I am just so glad and thankful to be part of the YWCA.”
Why is this so important? Research shows that healthy, educated, and empowered women have healthy, educated, and empowered children. This is exactly what the Family Literacy Center helps to accomplish.
By raising Kasandra’s literacy level and working with the entire family, we are helping to impact not just Kasandra’s future, but Keliany’s too. Kasandra will be better equipped to teach Keliany, help her with homework, read to her, and communicate better with her overall. She will be prepared to go to college and become more employable- both of which will increase her ability to earn money for her family. By furthering her education, and gaining the confidence and sense of worth that comes along with it, she will pass these values down to her daughter.