Last night was an unexpected surprise for me. Although I have worked at the Y for almost 18 months now, I really did not know that much about the Read to Succeed program at Downtown. Obviously, I knew that it was an adult literacy program, but I definitely did not fully appreciate the impact this program has on the lives of the people who take part in it.
The Downtown Y was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to hold their graduation for Read to Succeed this year at the Boat House on the riverfront in East Hartford. Through a partnership with Riverfront Recapture, we were able to use this beautiful building for our venue.There was amazing food and the room was beautifully decorated for the occasion.
As for the program, Director Karen Therouxe, has done a phenomenal job, along with all the other teachers in the Read to Succeed program to provide these students with the skills they needed to get them to where they are today. Many of them came to Read to Succeed after suffering embarrassment or fear caused by their reading difficulties. At Read to Succeed they were offered the opportunity to improve their reading and writing skills in a warm and encouraging environment that allowed them to thrive.
I was blown away listening to their stories of how they made the decision to enter the program. One graduate said that one of the reasons that drove her to enter the program was the fear that she would hurt one of her children by not being able to read the label on simple medications. Another talked about the embarrassment of not being able to fill out a form in a doctor’s office…..each of them had an inspiring story to share.
The pride they displayed at having achieved their goal was heart warming. They all came dressed up and brought all their families to share in their accomplishment. All the students received standing ovations upon receiving their certificates at the ceremony.
Although this was a very proud day for these graduates, it was equally, a very proud day for the Downtown Y and all the teachers from Read to Succeed who helped these students achieve an amazing goal of learning to read. We wish them all success and happiness.