Thinking that she had enough education to live on her own, Melinda Brandt dropped out of school when she was only in the 9th grade. However, she found herself in and out of juvenile detention centers for being truant and unruly. A few years later, she married against her mother’s will and it would be 10 years before she divorced. Once Melinda’s divorce was finalized, she found a new freedom and thirst for learning. In 2013, she earned her GED® and set an example of strength and academic excellence for her children.
An update from Melinda: I am happy to say that I am now an employee here at Project Learn. Two years ago I was an AmeriCorps VISTA (volunteer) here. Volunteering allowed me to see the inside picture of the caring and thoughtful processes that allow every student to achieve their goals. During this time, I also came to realize, that this is where I wanted to stay and continue to be involved in the great things that happen here at Project Learn every day. Being a student here myself, I feel a connection to our students and hope that I am able to offer encouragement and support through my role as Retention Specialist, by sharing my story and experiences and to help others reach their goals.
David knew that before he can get promoted at the City of Akron, he needed to pass certain required tests that included algebra and fractions – subjects for which he definitely needed refresher courses. Project Learn helped him and other City employees improve their skills so that they could handle the increased demands that their jobs required.
Doug is a Project Learn graduate and sophomore at Kent State University where he is majoring in Applied Conflict Management with a minor in Criminal Justice. Doug never dreamed of being a college student until the loss of his twelve-year-old daughter who succumbed to a six-year fight with brain cancer. As a result, Doug not only lost his child, but also his home and business. Doug's misfortunes urged him to attend classes at Project Learn. He earned his GED® after six months!
He credits the dedicated and hardworking Project Learn staff for seeing him through a difficult time and helping him reach his fullest potential. Today, Doug attends Kent State University's Bridges Program for GED® Scholars and hopes to graduate with a degree in Applied Conflict Management in August 2017.
Arjun was only eight years old when he was forced to flee his home in Bhutan to escape the harsh laws from the One Nation One People Policy. In 2008, the United States and the International Organization for Migration sponsored Arjun, his mother and two sisters to come to the U.S. In 2012, Arjun began attending Project Learn’s U.S. Citizenship class so that he could prepare for the U.S. naturalization test. In summer 2013, he became a U.S Citizen.
Now, Arjun tries to resolve any doubts that his friends and family have about taking the citizenship test, and encourage them to attend classes, too.
Lily can take her daughters to the hospital and understand the doctor's orders, now that she has a grasp on English through Project Learn's English for Speakers of Other Languages class offered in Fairlawn. "Before I didn't know what the doctor said, but now I can make an appointment and understand what is going on and it feels good," she said.
Our goal is adult literacy and life-long learning, one person at a time. Our pride is success stories like Melinda, David, Doug, Arjun, and Lily.