Earlier this year, Leslie Ann Murray reached out to ALTA indicating her desire to volunteer with the organisation on a short term basis. Leslie Ann is a writer and educator based in Paris who will publish her first book of stories soon! In the month of June, Leslie-Ann visited six Reading Circles at five venues: NALIS (morning + afternoon), St George’s College Barataria, Arima Boys’ R.C. School, ALTA Office Belmont and Holy Saviour Curepe. The feedback was excellent; both tutors and students enjoyed her work immensely. Before leaving, Leslie Ann left a note to all Reading Circle Guides and student:
“From the bottom of my heart of hearts, thank your for a wonderful month at ALTA Reading Circle. Your feedback, support, and questions about my upcoming short story collection were intelligent and engaging. I left each Reading Circle session feeling empowered and encouraged.” – Leslie Ann
Over the past twenty five years Alta has had great impact on people around the country who have gone on to gain full time employment, CSEC passes and self-confidence through the programme. Alta has also had significant impact on families. By working with parents who are non-readers, the programme has often also taught their children to read, write and spell. The column today tells the story of how the programme impacts families. Kernisha Skeete daughter of past ALTA student Jackie Skeete shares her story.
She couldn’t read but for the sake of my education she went back to school. Some say I taught my momma to read but the reality is she taught me. She allowed me to spend my evenings at the library, so late they had to ask me to leave. My mother went out of her way to ensure I went to school whether we had money or not. My mother taught me the importance of education as she attended Alta classes at various locations in Arima. I grew up attending [Alta] field trips and gaining new aunties and uncles as she progressed through each level, sometimes doing one level multiple times.
As I observed my mother persevere to one day write post primary examinations after completing Alta’s Level 3, I gained an appreciation for education. She continuously reminded me of the importance of acquiring an education and explained to me how it would impact my life. As a child, I listened, not fully grasping the significance of her words. As she practiced her syllables, vocabulary and spellings, I practiced too. In retrospect, I can say ALTA taught us both. Her cards were my cards, her books were my leisure reading. I love to read and seeing my mother progress from a struggling student to someone who was able to stand before a crowd and read fluently marveled me. Seeing her progress from spelling words completely different to their actual spelling to minor misspellings touched my life in a way I cannot translate into words.
The tutors of Alta played a significant role in my mother’s learning as they inspired her with each session: they encouraged, applauded and corrected her as necessary. When an external issue impacted her learning, they sat and listened patiently to ensure she was able to learn without hindrance.
I would not be where I am had my mother not seen the importance of education. I may not have performed as well as I did in SEA had it not been for our attendance at Alta classes. Alta, like a number of persons and institutions, has contributed to our lives in ways we simply cannot pinpoint because we have gained in almost every area of our lives from what many may consider as just a class.
My mummy, My hero, My role model.
Kernisha is currently a fourth year medical student. Her mom passed away some years ago. She was a market vendor during the day and an Alta student on evenings. Unfortunately she didn’t live to see her daughter enroll in medical school.
Volunteer, Donate or Sponsor-a-student. Call 621-5708 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. Keep up to date with ALTA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: ALTA