GAIN Client, Eric, Inspires Others to Improve Literacy
By: Liz Hall, AmeriCorps VISTA, Literacy Action of Central Arkansas

Allen, Eric, and Felicia stand together at GAIN to celebrate Eric’s progress.

When Eric enrolled as a student at Literacy Action last fall, he set two goals: go back to school and get his driver’s license. Despite having his high school diploma, Eric tested below a first grade reading level. “They just stopped trying to teach me how to read,” Eric explained as he needed help to fill out his basic contact information. Now Eric and his tutor, Felicia Mayfield, an AmeriCorps member, frequently meet at GAIN in downtown Little Rock for literacy tutoring. GAIN is a drug and rehab program that focuses on mental health services.

When Eric came to GAIN he had anger issues, but he thinks the tutoring has helped him control it better. Eric says that he “enjoys tutoring, believes it’s important, and it makes him feel better.” Since he started working with Felicia, Eric has started to see substantial progress. He’s completed the first book in the Laubach curriculum and logged over 50 hours of tutoring. His hard work and dedication to learning isn’t going unnoticed.

Eric has been encouraging others at GAIN to get a tutor, too. Eric’s caseworker, Allen Cooper, can testify to that. Allen describes Eric’s progress since he has been attending regular tutoring sessions with Felicia. He says, “Eric’s improvement has given him so much confidence that other clients at GAIN are taking notice and asking how they can get a tutor.” Allen continues to say that clients will often start programs, but not finish them.” Eric is eager to learn and it’s motivating others,” Allen acknowledges. Since Eric’s enrolled as a student at Literacy Action, there have been four other clients from GAIN sign up to receive tutoring services.

Allen also sings the praises of Felicia, “she’s very good, and very patient with him, I think he counts down the minutes until she gets here.” Felicia is aware of Eric’s previous anger issues, but she smiles and says, “I’ve never seen any anger from him or had any issues. He’s always ready to learn.” Felicia knows that it can be challenging for Eric at times because progress can be slow for someone who is learning to read for the first time, but she applauds his commitment and feels confident that a break is coming soon!