L to R: Basic Literacy Student Jaideo Singh and LVGW Tutor Kathy Darmody.

Jaideo’s story…

Jaideo was born in Guyana, one of nine children. The family was so poor that they could not afford a pencil for each so they broke a pencil into pieces for them. Although he went to school until fifth grade, he never learned to read and write. According to Jaideo, the teachers just put things on the board but did not actually teach. In 2010 he came to the U.S. for a better future. He enrolled in an educational program, but felt that the teacher and students were unsympathetic about his lack of literacy.

In 2012 he came to the library and met with Vanessa. She encouraged him to sign up for the LVGW program. Fast forward four years, and Jaideo passed the U.S. Citizenship exam in Fall 2016! In a note of gratitude, he said: “I really appreciate what everyone has done for me. I am so happy that I passed the citizenship test, and I will always remember Literacy Volunteers.

Reflections from Jaideo’s tutor, Kathy Darmody…

When I began working with him, I focused on sight words and phonics. In 2013 he told me that he wanted to gain U.S. citizenship as soon as possible. So I switched the main focus of the lessons. It was difficult for Jaideo to go from being a non-reader to being able to read all the words for citizenship in isolation and in sample sentences. He then accomplished the task of being able to write necessary words and sample sentences. Both reading and writing English are part of the exam. He learned the answers to the civics questions by listening to a CD while driving or working. Tutor Mary Baker helped him to study as well. As a result he was able to pass the test in September 2016. Jaideo is a joy to work with. There is always a smile on his face, and he is always excited to talk about world events and the political scene.