Portia came to LIFT in May of 2017 hoping to make a change. She received her diploma when she finished high school in Baltimore, Maryland, but because of her limited reading ability she says, “I was too embarrassed to hang up my diploma. I was ashamed to tell someone I graduated”.
Many other adult learning programs turned Portia down when she sought help with reading because she already had her GED. These organizations offered GED prep classes and were unable to offer a customized learning experience for someone like Portia who needed additional instruction in a specific area. Unlike other organizations, LIFT has the curriculum and training to offer instruction to all adults at every level.
New to Dallas, Portia found herself on the Opportunity Center campus seeking the social security office last year. By mistake she discovered the LIFT office and was overjoyed by the welcome she received: “The people there (at LIFT) have a heart, they have a passion for teaching. You can see it in their face.”
Portia was placed in the SEE 1 program upon admission. She spent 3 full days a week in classes and tutoring while continuing to work as a home health nurse’s assistant full-time. She spent so much time at LIFT, HSE Coordinator Karen Medlock joked that she may as well bring her bed with her. For 13 months Portia attended LIFT classes and participated in career-development workshops, each day getting closer to her educational goals. When asked about her time at LIFT Portia said, “I’m a living witness – if you have a desire to learn this is the place to come.”
Working in health care has been Portia’s dream come true. She has the privilege of making a difference in people’s lives, which she says, “is the beauty of life.” But, another dream of hers has been to go to college. With support from her teachers at LIFT, Portia took the TABE exam required for college admission and passed! Now she is attending community college to become a certified phlebotomist and EKG technician. Because of her dedication and investment in her own education, Portia is gaining new skills so that she may increase her own impact on the lives of people in our community.
“Now that I have been at LIFT I can finally put my diploma up on the wall. I’ve come a long way.”