Nick Brooks

December 10, 2010 by Post Team 

Nick Brooks, Elmer Barrett used his teaching experience in adult learning Vermont to “turn the knob on the door of opportunity” in his life.

Barrett, 62, was born in Philadelphia and grew up in a tough neighborhood in Long Island where her resourcefulness was more important than the classroom. “I used my studies street to get me out, let me move forward, to get where I am, and it was not pleasant all the time. And I have not finished my studies because life in outside on the corner was more important at this time. ”

Until he realized there was something missing in his life.

Now the proud father of an 8 year old son attending Green Street School, Barrett is enrolled in the Vermont Adult Learning (VAL) program to improve its future and quality of life for his family.

“He gave me a chance is to turn the page, giving me a new book – another way of seeing things, and I can do this because my pride is on the rise, at he said.”I did not know until I got here, what I can do”

Barrett spoke with a half-dozen of his classmates colleagues Thursday morning in Vermont Adult Learning of the annual legislative breakfast to discuss their work and career plans with legislators.

“The people we are here to honor and hear from students, and I can not tell you how much I respect the amount of time, energy and commitment it takes each of you [talking

Directly to the adult] to put in a program like this, “said Executive Director of Pixie VAL Loomis.” Like all of us, our students have lives, and there are many things that get in the way of amount of work, energy and time it takes to succeed in the kind of programs we offer. ”
VAL is a private, nonprofit adult education and to provide literacy services throughout the State of Vermont 16 years and older who are not currently enrolled in school. The programs provide essential education skills of its students to continue their education, employment and personal goals.

State Sen. Jeanette White, D-Windham, said that the success of VAL needs more attention in Montpellier because there is significant opposition voices (including several legislators and school board members) who seek to push for money adult education programs in the education fund.

“I think it’s a valid point that this money is spent,” said White. “I think it is absolutely important that you keep getting that message to legislators around the state and the educational community.”

VAL center located on 572 Birge Street serves adult learners from 21 provincial cities, with 236 of Brattleboro alone. Over 50 percent of all students are aged fewer than 21, a jump of nearly 40 percent since the mid-1990s.

Xavier Carter, 17, describes himself as “troubled child” is a relatively new program, pursuing a degree in law enforcement or criminal justice.

“I decided to come here and make me act together and do something with the law and criminal justice, and try to do something about it because I always wanted to do this when I was young, “he said.

Eighteen years, Nick Brooks took a course last spring and is now an apprentice plumber.

Lucia Miller, formally Florida but moved to Brattleboro three months ago, is on the way to obtaining his high school diploma while working full-time employment. His sister also graduated from the program.

“I learned a lot about friendship here, everyone is always nice when you come here,” she said, hoping to graduate next year.

Adult learners like Miller, who did not graduate can develop an individualized plan with teachers VAL where they can take college courses, an internship or be able to conduct a study based on the work. The program has become a recognized leader nationally in transforming the way education services are delivered.

“The high school is a beautiful piece of paper you get along the way, but what he really is, is getting people to say” I’m important and have something to contribute I have the ability and I need to go make my own future, and it’s a great message regardless of the program that people are, “said Loomis.

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