Brian tells us how 26TEN has made a difference for him.
It was so moving and inspiring to receive a letter from Brian, telling us how 26TEN has made a difference for him. We shared the letter among our colleagues, including those at the Reading Writing Hotline, and it had quite a few of us reaching for the tissues.
Brian is pleased for us to share his letter with you.
The Coordinators 26 Ten
#26 Ten Week
To Whom it May Concern,
I have taken the time to enter this competition because it asked for a story to share the difference 26 Ten has made to me.
This story, and the way in which it has been set out is a true indication of how it has made a difference to me, and if you read on, I will explain in greater detail exactly what I mean.
I am a man of 60 years of age, for the best part of that 55 years I have had a problem with my spelling and punctuation.
This is something I have carried through my life, and although it was annoying, I did not see it as a real problem because I had developed ways in which to over come any embarrassment it would cause me. This was done by allowing my wife to proofread anything that I had written for others to read, such as letters or emails.
I had also developed handwriting, which was hard to read by others, this was a by-product of my affliction. This was also something I didn’t realise until much later in life as I was able to read my own work so easily, but others couldn’t.
I also relied on spell check when computers became a much greater influence on our daily lives.
I work very early shift at my place of employment, and I like to have a cup of tea in the lunchroom before I start my shift.
Each morning it seemed the same advertisement would come on the television for the Reading Writing Hotline.
After a couple of weeks, I started to feel these ads were being directed at me.
This is when I decided I would pluck up the courage and give the phone number a call. This was by far the hardest and most rewarding call I have ever made.
When I say the phone call was the hardest, I have ever made, I mean that without reservation.
To have a problem like this that you have hidden from everyone but your closest love one’s for fear of embarrassment, and then to make it public, is a very daunting thing to do, as it is an admission by you that you have a flaw in your character which needs addressing.
While on the phone to the lady from the Hot Line she gave me
the contact number for my local contact at libraries Tasmania in Huonville.
The lady I spoke to at Libraries Tasmania was Toni (full name not supplied), she made an appointment for me to come and see her. This was the start of my incredible learning journey.
At my first meeting, I was welcomed in the politest most nonjudgmental way. This Reception just made my fears of being looked down upon slip away.
It only took two sessions with Toni, to make me realise that I had become part of a very special organisation, with the wellbeing of people and their education at the forefront of their charter.
I have now been attending my classes for five months on a weekly basis, in this time I have learnt to set out a letter, email, short story or other pieces of writing with proper paragraphs, and with punctuation which has greatly improved but is not yet perfect.
I could not fully explain in words the day I first wrote an email which was set out in proper paragraphs. As looked down upon the printed copy, the immense boost in self esteem and pride from doing this myself was something which will live with me forever.
This feeling I now try to reproduce with everything I do which is related to my learning.
My spelling is also improving, although there is a long way to go before I have come to grips with that, but it is still part of my journey and I am prideful of what I have achieved so far on that front.
After starting my learning journey, I also decided I now had the confidence to work on fixing my handwriting so others can read what I have written. My wife spends a lot of time with me reading from books so I can write the story to practice my handwriting, spelling and punctuation.
My handwriting has developed so much over this period that she told me the other day “it is wonderful now”. This was another one of those boosts to my self-esteem that makes this journey so worthwhile.
So, as you have read through this story, I do hope you have taken time to notice the set out and punctuation of my story as this is the true reflection, although not yet perfect, of what I have achieved so far with the help of 26 Ten.
As for the lift in my self esteem and confidence this is only something I can feel, but I hope it comes through to you through my writing.
I have also sent this work in without correction so you can gauge my work so far.
It would also be remiss of me at this stage not to thank your organisation and the people who fund it, who volunteer, and the people work so hard to improve the lives of others by suppling such a service to the community.
The debt of gratitude that I owe personally I am afraid I can never repay. But please understand that you have made the world of difference to me for the rest of my life.
I would also like to thank Toni, Ian and my wife Jennifer. These are the people whom I have the greatest debt of gratitude to, for all their efforts and help over this time. Without them being there to teach me I would not have been able to progress so far from what I was to what I am.
Thankyou guys, from the bottom of my heart.
And Thankyou 26 Ten.