The graduates donned caps and gowns, posed for photos and shared cupcakes, shared stories and described their plans for the future. Tiffany, a full-time administrator’s assistant in a busy social service program, now qualifies for a promotion. Cherille, a single mom who studied all summer with a tutor, finished school to be a role model for her children. Chance has worked many jobs but now dreams of entering a veterinary technician program at Mt. Hood Community College. Diana, a bilingual mom and businesswoman, juggled family, business and her studies and proved to her daughter that she could finish school.
The GED drop-in tutoring program, coordinated by Adult Literacy Coordinator Lisa Regimbal, has served 103 older and younger adults over the past year. Many of the program’s attendees were nervous about the test and didn’t know how to study or where to begin. Thanks to a one-year Oregon GED Program Wraparound Services Grant, the library has been able to offer attendees free GED testing, tutoring by volunteers, and coaching from GED Coordinator Colleen Latimer. Multnomah County Library was the only library system in the state to receive the funding.
A cadre of 30 volunteer tutors helped the students stay motivated while remembering the intricacies of algebra and fractions, and studying science, social studies and language arts. Library staff ensured students felt welcomed and provided books for kids while parents studied.
The ceremony was a reminder of the importance and significance of graduation for the students who had dropped out of school years earlier. Graduate Cherille was surrounded by her children, nieces, nephews, elderly mother and other family members. She pointed to the children and smiled, “I wanted to show them I could do it.”
Drop-in tutoring and GED assistance is currently available at six library locations:
- Mondays, 4 to 6 pm, St. Johns Library
- Mondays, 5 to 7 pm, North Portland Library
- Tuesdays, 5 to 7 pm, Midland Library
- Wednesdays, 10 am to 12pm, Rockwood Library
- Wednesdays, 4 to 6 pm, Gresham Library
- Thursdays, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, Central Library