This I Believe- a student’s story

I believe in America

I was born and raised to know life is a beauty, life is dream, life is a love, life is a challenge. I got to merry and I learnt life is a precious, life is a promise, life is life and have to defend it.

I remember July 22, 1992.I was haunted where the story of the human adventure seemed to swing between horror and malediction. I was there.

I saw death-death. First time I was coward because I wanted to live.

I fell asleep and dreamed that life was beauty. I dreamed my childhood when every child in every school in ex Yugoslavia ate American`s chess and egg powder.

When I awoke I saw life was then I could not imagine. I made a decision: Make life bearable for my family.

I learnt life is the game and I want to live peaceful life without fear of what will happen to my kids. I did not want to extend human agony. I remembered what my father told me when I was a child: “America embraces all people from all faiths”.

I left from my country. My family and I came in US.

My story is a common one that has been told by millions of Americans.

I sworn to uphold and protect Constitution and the low of this nation when I became a citizen.

I live every day with the thought this is my home.

I came as a refugee and I believe in the basic right to be a fully American. My experiences cannot stay with me alone. I must to share it with you.

America is a big, open and charitable heart. Americans sometimes seems confused and always noisy. That noise has a name, it is called democracy.

 Meliha Sarajlic-Mujezinovic,……In Saratoga, April 2012.

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Welcome New Literacy Staff!

Staff will be transitioning at our Schenectady Public Library office. Yes, the renovations at the main branch have been completed…almost! The whole facility looks lovely and very inviting. While we still have some questions about access to our Literacy office space by our volunteers, we can share the following updates:

  • Lunette Dickey from our Glens Falls office did a truly amazing job rebuilding our office in the midst of library renovations and with the loss of June O’Connor. Lunette was able to reorganize the files and the administration, creating a filing system, restructuring our tutoring library and completing all our student post testing. Many thanks to you, Lunette, and to all your wonderful Glens Falls volunteers who staffed that office over the past several months!
  • We are ready to launch a new office, in tandem with the “new” library opening!
  • I am extremely pleased to announce that Judy Smith has agreed to take the position of Schenectady County Program Coordinator. This is a part time position. Judy will be at the Schenectady office on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday starting immediately. Judy’s skill set will be very valuable to volunteers and students. She has extensive background with adult learners having taught reading, writing, and GED. She also has administrative, managerial and human service experience. She comes highly recommended by Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County, where she tutored adult learners and oversaw a business/community reading program for several years. We particularly appreciate her commitment to learning, her passion for literacy and her commitment to serve the Schenectady community. In addition to building a strong program office for volunteers and students, she will focus on community outreach and partnering. Judy will be in touch with each of you to support your tutoring and volunteer efforts. Her email address and her phone number is 518.452.3382
  • Please stop by the new office and introduce yourself!
  • For your fall planning, we will be offering tutor training in October. We also plan to add beginning and intermediate ELL conversation groups and at least one US Citizenship class. If you are interested in “refreshing” your tutoring skills by attending tutor training and/or might like to chat about teaching a conversation class or the Citizenship class, let us know. It will be an exciting year!
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I Am- By Maria

I Am

I am a happy and energetic woman\.

I wonder when I will have conversations in English.

I hear the wind whistling a song through the trees. I will be patient.

I see my teacher is an excellent and beautiful person.

I want to learn English soon so that I can work again.

I am a happy and energetic woman.

I pretend I have learned English and have a very good job sewing upholstery and clothes in a factory.

I feel strong.

I touch the conga drums and play lively music. I feel alive!

I worry that when I do not work there is no money for me and my family.

I cry with anguish.

I am a happy and energetic woman.

I understand my family and I will always support each other.

I say a united family brings strength and comfort.

I dream tomorrow will be better.

I try my best every day to meet my goal.

I hope to change my life for the better by learning to speak English.

I am a happy and energetic woman.

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Literacy News


“This I Believe”

May 9th, 2012 at Proctors Theater, Schenecatady, NY-6:00-8:00 PM

What is the This I Believe project?: This I Believe is a nationwide essay project engaging people in writing, sharing, and discussing the core values that guide their daily lives. The project is based on the popular 1950s radio series of the same name hosted by Edward R. Murrow. In 2008, we used this template for our annual student celebration.

You can view essays written by our Literacy students and tutors at

We are very excited to be continuing our own version of this project. The 2012 kickoff will be at our Student Celebration on May 9th at Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady, NY at 6:00 PM (readings starting at 7:00PM).

What about the Essays?

Essays can be 50-200 words. Submissions can also be in the form of poetry or completed as a language experience story. Please EMAIL your essay to your Program Coordinator no later than April 21. We plan to compile and print all essays into a booklet to be distributed at the May 9th Student Celebration. PLEASE adhere to this deadline. Every year, we have a few students who cannot have their writing published because we have received it too late!

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