Marissa Collins has a high school diploma and is ready to enter college to further her goal of becoming a police officer or a border patrol interpreter. She reads and writes well and is computer literate. She has a good vocabulary.
None of that was true three years ago.
Marissa, a young Mexican-American woman, mother of three children, worked six and sometimes seven days a week cleaning homes. She could barely read at the fifth grade level, and had a painfully small vocabulary. She sought help from Oceanside READS, where she was assigned a tutor who recognized the great potential, and the great problems, Marissa represented.
“One session at a time, one week at a time, we stuck with it,” the tutor said. When Marissa enrolled in an adult high school diploma program, she and her tutor labored together on classroom work, homework, organizational skills, and time management. Marissa often felt overwhelmed with work and family problems, but with her tutor’s help, praise, and encouragement, she resisted the urge to quite. Marissa’s reading level increased dramatically, she learned to pronounce words correctly, to enlarge her vocabulary, to use a computer, and to help her children with their homework.
On June 4, 2004, Marissa graduated with her high school diploma. In addition to her academic achievements, Marissa’s self-esteem and self-confidence have soared. She has become interested in meeting new people and making new friends, and she has inspired those friends to set goals for themselves, as she did.
In April 2005 Marissa will be traveling alone to Spain to visit a former classmate, something she would never have dreamed of doing three years ago. After returning, she plans to attend Mira Costa College and continue with computer classes, and possibly become a tutor herself.