Inspiring Story: LIFT student survives, thrives after devastating loss of husband

The unexpected death of her husband made Gwendolyn a widow at 50-years-old and created an overwhelming challenge:  finding a way to earn an income and support her two children with limited literacy skills.  When Gwendolyn was younger, schools were totally different than they are now.  Students who did not “catch on” were laughed at and judged by the other students, and sometimes even the teachers.  Students were also pushed through to the next grade level even if they didn’t know how to read.

At LIFT, Gwendolyn found a much different learning environment than what she experienced in high school.  The teachers offered to stay after class or meet one-on-one if a student wasn’t understanding the material.  They also provided Gwendolyn and the other adult learners with their email addresses and phone numbers in case they had questions about the material after they got home. 

 “The teachers at LIFT take their time and give you extra help.  They stay after class with you and give you their contact information if you have questions,” she explained.  “No question is dumb.  They don’t make you feel like you are dumb.  Even though you have been told that your whole life, you know it’s not true.”

Importantly, there was no judgement or ridicule at LIFT.

“When I first came to LIFT, I was afraid because people judge other people who don’t know something,” explained Gwendolyn. “But the teachers didn’t judge me.  They could see that I was trying and told me that the learning wouldn’t all happen overnight.”

Gwendolyn is now in LIFT’s High School Equivalency (HSE) Prep program and thinking about her educational plans post-LIFT.  Her daughter and son are both in high school, and both A-Honor role students enrolled in AP classes.  Her kids tell her they are proud of her and want to take care of her when she is older. Gwendolyn has other plans. 

“I see all the commercials about people going to college and graduating, and I want that,” she said.  “My kids say they will take care of me, but I don’t want that.  I want to take care of myself.”

Since 1961, LIFT has provided thousands of adults like Gwendolyn with the supportive classroom environment and extra help they need to achieve their educational goals.  With your support, we can transform thousands of more lives.  Here is how you can help:

  • Make a donation to our 2018 Annual Fund Campaign before December 31, 2018.  Our goal is $25,000. Your donation of any amount will help provide LIFT’s adult learners with the support, programming and inspiration they need to achieve their educational goals and improve their lives. Click here to donate.
  • Spread the word.  If circumstances do not currently allow you to participate in our campaign through a donation, you can still help by spreading the word about LIFT.  Forward this email to your friends.  Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, and share our Annual Fund Campaign posts with your social media network.