Friday, August 21, 2009

Hemet Library - Woman Finds More Than Literacy Skills

Woman Finds More Than Literacy SkillsValley Chronicle: Aug 14, 2009 by Valerie Drew

Every morning, Laurie Heber wakes up and looks at a small bee figurine sitting on her dresser. The figurine includes the words “Believe in yourself,” and thanks to Hemet Adult Literacy Services, Heber said she is learning exactly how to do that.

For Heber, self-esteem is an issue. “I’m still working on building it up,” she said.

Heber graduated from the Adult Learner Leadership Institute (ALLI) in July. The program, which meets one Saturday a month for six months, teaches adult learners life skills, such as self-esteem, networking, and public speaking through practical exercises. The institute is funded by California Library Literacy Services and was developed by Henry Huffman, an adult learner in Santa Clara County in the late 1980s. Huffman completed the reading program and went on to become a tutor. He was an advocate of literacy and formed ALLI so learners could take their reading and writing skills to the next level.

Heber said the exercises helped her to improve her self-esteem, speak in front of large audiences, and become a leader in her community. One of the exercises required Heber to make a speech in front of the other participants at ALLI. “I was so scared!” Heber said. “But I felt comfortable because I knew people in the group weren’t going to laugh at me.” Her speech was about winning the statewide Writer-to-Writer competition last year.

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Lori Eastman — the literacy coordinator for the adult literacy program, which is run through Hemet Public Library — said Heber wants to stay in the program so she can continue to improve.
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