Destiny Barnett is a WLC JumpStart graduate who plans to own a photography studio one day. As a 23 year old single parent, Destiny is determined to give her 3 year old daughter Sage all of the opportunities she didn’t have growing up. Whether that means gymnastics lessons, or anything else that lets her explore her interests, Destiny wants to provide an array of options for Sage to figure out her passions.
Destiny came to WLC through the D.C. Department of Health Services (DHS) with the goal of better understanding her work and educational options. After she received her high school diploma from the Friendship Collegiate Academy, Destiny attended the University of Hartford in Connecticut for a semester and also took online photography classes through the Academy of Art. After she became pregnant, she took a break from her education to focus on being a new mom. With Sage off to school next fall, Destiny will then focus on taking what she learned from her WLC caseworker, Brenda, and launch her photography career.
“Brenda taught us all how to distinguish what our learning styles are so that we can best understand how to help ourselves, which I think is really important. I found out through a quiz that I’m a visual learner, which was really fun to learn and that helped me understand what I want to do with my life,” said Destiny. “We had a great class, we were all very positive and supportive of one another.”
Destiny’s family has served as a support network for her by encouraging her interest in photography while also helping her take care of Sage. When asked if she had advice to pass along to other young adults, she shared, “You are not defined by your circumstances. Don’t be too proud to accept help, whether the assistance is through scholarships, financial aid, or educational and work guidance through programs like JumpStart. If you can get something for free or get help of any kind, take it and don’t be ashamed. Take the opportunities that come to you and do what you gotta do.”
Jose Martinez is not a stranger to the Washington Literacy Center or the opportunities that can be found here. A returning student, he shares that in the past a number of barriers kept him from completing his studies at WLC despite the program being very helpful for him. Now, he has come back to finish what he started. “What the WLC has established is very comforting for people that are looking for help.”
Jose is currently attending the Just Words Intermediate level course. He hopes to be able to pick up more tools for reading and life and knows that his classmates share the same goals. “If you can’t read, it messes with your emotions. Some people are great people, but the issue they have is overwhelming and consumes their life. That’s why I’m here.”
Jose hopes to use the new skills he is learning at Washington Literacy Center to find a job to support him and his family. He is working hard to write the next chapter of his life.
Jose is a resident of Ward 4.
"I understand the longer you live, the more you understand what is important. What you may think is important about life often isn’t."
Thus begins one of Elizabeth B's regular contributions to Street Sense, a non-profit publication dedicated to empowering and uplifting the voices of people living through homelessness.
Elizabeth has been a student at WLC for several semesters and is fast on her way to graduating and joining one of DC's fantastic GED programs.
Elizabeth, like many of our students, is an active and vital member of her community. Her words give voice to herself and others like her. If you are as proud of Elizabeth as we are, make a donation today to help ensure we can serve as many DC residents as possible.
Elizabeth is a resident of Ward 8.
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Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.
- Brad Paisley