Adult Education Innovations
Adult Learner Success
My name is Adry, and I was born in Caracas, Venezuela. When I graduated from high school, I enrolled at Venezuela Central University where I obtained Bachelor Degrees in Biology and Education. I used to leave my house to go to university around 4:30 am and I arrived at home around 8:00 at night. Then, I had to study do my homework and get ready for my next day’s class. It was very difficult for me and a lot of effort to achieve my goals, but it was worth all of the hard work.
I worked in a lab as a microbiologist for a year, and then I moved on to another job closer to my house with better pay. Meanwhile, I met Pablo on one of his trips to visit his family. Our friendship became a romantic relationship; years later, he proposed to me, and I immediately said yes. But there was an issue; he lived in the USA, and I lived in Venezuela. At first, I didn’t want to come to the USA because I didn’t want to leave my family behind. But then, love was stronger, so I came to the USA and we got married.
Rhode Island was very different, in everything from the language to the weather. I wanted to be productive in this country, but the language barrier was an obstacle. I found Genesis Center, which opened their doors to me, and I enrolled in ESOL classes. My teachers, Bonnie Taylor and Sheryl Buchanan, made me feel very comfortable. Classes were hard, but I learned a lot. I felt more confident because I was fluent in speaking, writing and listening in English, which motivated me to think about getting a job.
noticed that Genesis Center was offering a Medical Assistant Training Course. When I first applied, I was not accepted because I was not very well prepared for the interview. I continued studying to better myself, and when I applied a second time, I was accepted. My teacher, Gienia Kocur, did a fantastic job teaching us the entire spectrum of skills to be an efficient and productive Medical Assistant. Workforce Coordinator Liz Hanke was also very influential in job preparation, guiding us in how, where and when to look for a job. Gienia, Liz and Cindy Alvarado helped me to get an internship at Roger Williams Medical Associates, a CharterCARE group in East Providence, where I did all of my internship hours in a month.
When I completed the program, I got a job interview at St. Joseph’s Health Center in Providence; days later, they hired me, and I am still working there as a Medical Assistant. The interviewer told me that my internship supervisor had fantastic things to say about my job performance and that I came highly recommended. I am very grateful for the support of the staff and teachers at Genesis Center. Genesis Center changed my life because once again, I can feel productive and help to better the lives of others.
When Zenaida first came to Genesis Center, she didn’t know she had a gift. A talented writer, with a natural sense of rhythm and an imagistic mind, Z had gone 47 years without ever hearing anyone say, “You are intelligent,” or “You are a good writer.” But she is. Through her writing, one discovers that there is quite a bit of depth to this woman—wisdom wrought from painful matters of having survived physical, sexual, and psychological abuse.
Thanks to the flexible structure of the ESOL program for college and career readiness at Genesis Center, which affords the learning facilitator the freedom to tailor lessons to the individual needs of learners, as well as the time to offer office hours, Zenaida was given an ear. Having someone to listen, to encourage, and to challenge her, Zenaida blossomed. Z’s appetite for learning seems to grow with every page she turns. The seed was planted when she read a short poem called “Imagine The Angels of Bread” by the great poet Martin Espada. The voice of the downtrodden, rising up and becoming empowered to imagine feeding empty mouths with bread, spoke to her.
Zenaida is still blossoming. Recently, she submitted a short story to a journal for publication. She has become a mentor to other students who gather around her asking for advice on their own writing. She has developed an educational plan, which includes going to community college while volunteering at an organization that helps battered women. Above all, she has laid the foundation for being a productive member of society, one who contributes in many ways to the fabric of American culture.
When I first arrived in my new country, I didn’t expect miracles to happen since I did not speak English. However, I enrolled in ESL classes at Genesis Center in Providence to begin my new journey. Once I started feeling more confident with my new language, my dream of becoming a midwife resurfaced. My teachers encouraged me to get a high school diploma through the National External Diploma Program (NEDP), which I accomplished in just three months. With a high school credential in hand, having a high school credential expanded my options for a better job. I enrolled in a skills training program, became a CNA and moved on to a better job.
The next step in my journey was to find a way to enroll in college to study nursing. It was then that I met the Transition to College (TTC) team at RIRAL. TTC played a significant role in my education. Through this program, I worked closely with teachers who encouraged me to excel in subjects where I had previously struggled. Moreover, they provided the guidance necessary for me to enroll in the Community College of Rhode Island Nursing Program. The TTC team was with me every step of the way—-checking to make sure I took the right courses and getting help when I needed. Believe me, navigating the sea known as the American higher education system would have been much bumpier if I had not received the support from TTC.
After years of working hard and receiving the guidance to pursue my education, working as a CNA, and raising a family, I finally passed the nursing entrance exam and am proud to have R.N. at the end of my name. Although I faced many hurdles along the way that made me reconsider my academic abilities, those hurdles aided me in becoming the person I am today. Despite the many challenges, I learned to adjust by working harder than I ever had in my entire life. Over time, I excelled in my courses and even started helping other struggling nursing students. After years of hard work, sacrifice, and countless challenges, I graduated as one of the top students in the nursing program and landed a job as a nurse in a local nursing home shortly after graduation. Moving from an entry-level job to a better job, to a great career in nursing took time, a village, and a strong commitment for a better life.