Building and Strengthening Neighborhoods and People

Adult Learning Center instructor wins grant to help students

Greater Homewood Adult Learning Center instructor, Sandy Love, went above and beyond the call of duty to secure the funding necessary for two of her students to access costly speech therapy services they urgently needed. We asked her to share the story of how she turned her kind impulse into a reality.

Sandy Picture

About a year ago I began to think about how wonderful it would be if I could get speech therapy for two of my most severe students. They had both been in my class for two semesters and their speech was impaired. In addition, they had quite a difficult time with phonics and phonemic awareness.

I took on the task alone and called several places that I thought could help. This took quite a bit of time, as there were many applications that had to be filled out by the learners. With my help we managed to get all the information needed and finally sent off the forms. Unfortunately, even though the services were available at a reduced fee, it was not low enough to be affordable for the students.

Luckily, last semester, with the help of Erin George, our Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator, I acquired a volunteer Classroom Assistant, Sue Guben, who worked so well with the learners and helped them gain confidence in themselves. She soon became a favorite with the learners who always asked when she was coming to help them. She also enjoyed what she was doing and it was evident in the way she worked with the learners.

One day I spoke to Sue about two of my learners and how much I wished GHCC could facilitate speech therapy for them. Well, Sue had an idea that really paid off. She named an agency, The Baltimore Community Foundation, where a friend of hers had established The Mitzvah Fund for Good Deeds. The fund was created to provide mini-grants to non-profit organizations such as GHCC to facilitate good works in neighborhoods and schools when funding from other sources is unavailable.

I spoke to Todd Elliott, Deputy Director of GHCC, about my idea. It just so happened that Karen Stokes, GHCC’s Executive Director, was in the room that day also. Both Todd and Karen agreed that it was a good idea and advised me to draft a grant request letter and application. Todd reviewed and edited my request, then we mailed it off.

One day about a month later, as I was working in my classroom, Margaret Cellulori, who was the Adult Learning Center’s Director at that time, came in and excitedly told me that the grant had been accepted and that we would get the money. I was so elated and astonished that my request had been granted!

Both learners were extremely happy when they found out they would be able to get the help they needed to further their education. They will benefit greatly from a speech and hearing evaluation. Knowing what the problem is always makes remediation easier and promotes progress. Each small step forward is an accomplishment, and many small steps add up to real progress.

Gather with friends on Saturday, April 6 in the spirit of fun and games to support the fight against adult illiteracy in Baltimore City. Hosted at Roland Park Country School, GHCC’s 12th Annual Scrabble Fundraiser for Literacy is a fantastic event with live music, delectable food, beer, wine, a silent auction, and, of course, Scrabble! All proceeds will benefit the work of GHCC’s Adult Learning Center. Register today!