The Literacy Council of Sarasota: One of Martha’s Stories

Volunteering through The Literacy Council of Sarasota has been a truly rewarding experience. I have been working with Martha for nearly seven months now (my, how time flies). Martha is incredibly talented in many things, including aesthetics. She can read, speak and write fluently in Spanish and would like to be able to do the same with ease and confidence in English.

I admire Martha for her relentless determination and persistent desire to learn. 

Martha told me an incredible story in one of our sessions. While living in Columbia, she was going through a terrible divorce and feeling very down. She was at a point in her life where she was questioning her career. As she was watching the credits from a soap opera with a friend, she said out loud, “I want to see my name there. Martha B.!” Her friend laughed at the thought.

Martha decided it was time to do some research and find out where she could learn more about makeup artistry. She found the perfect class to attend, but she could not afford it. So Martha mustered up all her courage and determination and went to the senator of Columbia’s office (really!) She waited for him there all day. His secretary asked her if she had an appointment and she said no. The secretary said, “you must have an appointment to get in with the senator. What do you need to speak to him about?”

Martha explained that she needed to see him about the class she wanted more than anything to attend. It was her dream to take this class, she explained.

Martha is an animated storyteller. She and I went from laughing until our stomachs hurt to tear-filled eyes and a search for tissues.

After waiting for hours, Martha worked her way in to talk to the senator! She explained her conundrum and how she was determined to live her dream but could not afford the class. She left the senator’s office with a check for tuition and a promise to pay him back.

Martha excelled in her aesthetics class as she truly was born to be a makeup artist. Out of a class of twenty students, Martha was chosen to work with her teacher on the set of a movie. When she saw her name in the credits, her dream became a reality. She called her friend and said, “Do you know where my name is? Not in the credits of a soap opera, but in the credits of a MOVIE!”

This story is one of my favorites from tutoring over the past months.

I feel honored to be working with such an intelligent, eager learner. Every day I think about what I am going to show her next. Her eyes grow wide and she smiles when she has her “aha” moments, as do mine. It is so enlightening to share cultures, family stories, language and skills with each other.

jane iredale, a mineral makeup company, sent a Training Manual for Martha to use as a lesson tool. It is chock full of makeup application techniques, interesting vocabulary, pictures and products that spark discussions and inspire technical growth. The added benefits of tutoring using information that the learner is passionate about is most essential and critical to their highest levels of success and accomplishment. Thank you so much, Jane and Oona!

Did you know the English language requires an entirely different set of facial muscles for pronunciation then Spanish?

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