Real Student Stories

GLA has made a real impact on the lives of students around our communities.

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Meet Rafael

Would you believe that your gift has the power to lift a person out of adversity? It absolutely does. To illustrate, I’d like to share Rafael’s story:

In the midst of a steady career as a truck driver, Rafael’s life was changed forever when a severe spine injury left him jobless. Without a high school diploma, he knew there was little gainful work to be found. That’s when he contacted Greenville Literacy Association. Working closely with our program managers while in recovery from his injuries, Rafael worked diligently toward his goal.

Overcoming physical and emotional barriers, Rafael finished his degree in under two years and walked across the stage to receive his diploma at our 2019 graduation.

“GLA gave me a second chance at life,” he says. “I’m no longer dreaming of the future. I’m living the dream.”

These days, Rafael is giving back to GLA in a major way – he’s completing a work-study internship at GLA through ECPI. He says, “I want people who walk through these doors to see someone who made it. I want to continue to empower people – to give back what I was given.”

We’re so glad to have Rafael as part of the GLA family!

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Meet Kristin and Sivia

Sisters-in-law Kristin and Sivia decided in the fall of 2018 that it was time to take their education to the next level.

They came to GLA with a dream of achieving their GEDs and finding rewarding jobs in healthcare. Living together proved an advantage for the ladies, allowing them to lean on each other during times of struggle and doubling the joy when milestones were reached. They kept each other focused while they worked through their curriculum.

Program Manager Michelle Irby, who helped guide the relatives to their goal, says the pair was “absolutely determined to succeed, no matter what obstacles – and there were plenty of obstacles! – and they put in the work to make it happen.”

This May, after several months of hard work, Kristin and Sivia proudly walked across the stage to receive their GEDs at GLA’s annual graduation ceremony. They didn’t rest on their achievement, though – both women enrolled in Greenville Tech’s Quick Jobs for a Future program and received certificates in Phlebotomy.

These two GLA graduates achieved their dreams with the help of support and scholarships from our generous donors. Gifts to GLA’s mission are truly transformative!

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Meet Isabel

Isabel enrolled at Greenville Literacy Association to learn English.

She grew up in Mexico, and for her family, education was not a priority. “I made it a goal in my adult life that if I had the opportunity to have an education, I would take it,” she shares, “so that my family would have a better life, and so that I could show my parents that an education is key to improving your life.”

When she began at GLA, her English was extremely limited, but she quickly gained ground and began moving up in her curriculum. Within months, she managed to bring herself to a workable level of English. Not long after that, she made the decision to enter GLA’s GED program. “I took advantage of everything that GLA offered me,” says Isabel, “though it wasn’t easy – I put in a lot of hard work and studied, and became one of the most dedicated students in the program.”

She made her way through the GED program while still perfecting her English. When she spoke at her GLA graduation ceremony, she made a special appeal to the supporters of GLA who made her education possible:

“It’s because of your unselfish giving that I and many others are living a dream that would not have been possible without GLA.”

Since graduating from our GED program, Isabel has gone on to complete the Physical Therapy Assistant program at Greenville Tech. She thanks her husband Jeff and her son Anthoni and has promised to keep us updated on her progress. We’re proud of you, Isabel!

Are you our next success story?

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