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Maryland Couple Finds Hope Across State Lines at Seeds

Launched in September, Seeds of Literacy’s Virtual Classroom has become a lifeline to learning for students across the country. 

Anaya and Isaac, who live in Maryland, are grateful for discovering the warm, welcoming way Seeds helps pupils thrive.

Anaya met her future husband, Isaac, in 2010, when Anaya (who has a master’s degree in public health from Boston University) moved to Tanzania to spearhead global health initiatives. The couple married in 2015 and settled in Maryland. 

Isaac, who is fluent in Swahili and Maasai, wanted to sharpen his English skills and began taking adult-education classes at the Washington Literacy Center. When the center was forced to close as a result of COVID-19, the couple began searching for a safe alternative that would allow Isaac to continue his studies.

“We looked for education programs online that were virtual,” Anaya says. “Our Google search included virtual adult education and adult literacy, and Seeds came up.”

“Since Isaac was not born in this country and was not educated in this country, I wasn’t sure if the program would be appropriate. It was so encouraging to hear that living out-of-state was not a problem, and that Seeds also tutors people who have not been exposed to formal education,” she continued.

“We are so impressed with the way Seeds is creating a program tailor made for Isaac’s needs and that they do the same for everyone.”

THE VIRTUAL CLASSROOM

One link takes students and tutors to the Virtual Classroom, with no complicated schedules to remember. The Virtual Classroom is open during the same hours as Seeds’ on-site locations (Monday through Thursday: Morning 9-11am, Afternoon 1-3pm, and Evening 6-8pm), and the staff continues to be able to pair tutors and students, just as they would in the classroom.

Zoom also allows for “breakout rooms,” enabling tutors to work individually with a student — thus reinforcing the personalized, one-to-one instruction that is a critical component of the Seeds program. Additionally, 170 lessons recorded by tutors are available on the website for students to watch and study on their own at any time. 

“Our program is always looking for ways to do what we do better, to reach more students, to engage more tutors,” says Dr. Carmine Stewart, Vice President of Programming at Seeds. “We are excited that this COVID-19 cloud has a silver lining, allowing us to welcome students from seven different states (California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New York and Texas). This just puts us one step closer to our goal of eliminating illiteracy.”

# # # Linda Feagler