Anything is Possible

This week, Southeast Ministry partnered with the DC Adult and Family Literacy Coalition (DC-AFLC) to celebrate Adult Education and Family Literacy Week!

National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week raises public awareness about the need and value of adult education and family literacy, identifies resources needed to support access to basic education programs, and addresses solutions to the barriers faced by adult learners nationwide.

The kick-off event was held at the Brookland Busboys and Poets and included a panel of adult learners, moderated by our very own Valarie Ashley, as well as an essay contest, in which one of our learners, Tina Thompson, won the Beginner’s category!

Along with Mrs. Ashley, the panel featured two of our learners, Shaquita Odom and Naomi Favors, in addition to two other learners from adult education programs in the District.


Panel of adult learners, moderate by SEM Executive Director, Valarie Ashley

When asked what brought each learner back to school, Naomi answered, ” I felt lost and inadequate, you can’t achieve your goals without a high school diploma or GED.” Shaquita responded by saying, “My family motivated me to go back. I know I’m smart, I just knew it was time to make a change.”

“Motivation is my biggest obstacle, I have to stay focused. My goal is to pass the GED test, enroll at UDC, then go to cosmetology school. I have been dealing with depression, but SEM has been awesome, my teachers are a big help,” Shaquita continued. “We have to remember that all storms pass and anything is possible!”

Naomi added to the discussion by mentioning her goals of getting her diploma and pursuing a medical career. She also added, “My setbacks have been financial and health related, but my obstacles seem minor because of what I want to achieve.”

During the essay contest portion of the event, SEM learner, Tina Thompson won the Beginner’s category.


SEM learner, Tina Thompson, won the Beginner’s category of the essay contest.

Tina read hear essay aloud for the entire room, which was filled to the point that only standing room remained. Her vivid description of her personal adversities and journey thus far, which included physical and spiritual setbacks, brought her to tears, and brought the entire room to a standing ovation.


SEM learners (from left to right) Shaquita Odom, Naomi Favors, and Tina Thompson


SEM learners Shaquita Odom, Naomi Favors, and Tina Thompson pictured with SEM board member Michael Wilker and Michael Ambinder, a representative of the Office of Councilmember Elissa Silverman


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