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Apr 30 2022

Student Spotlight: Dani

Student Spotlight


My name is Destiny; most people know me as Dani, a nickname I’ve lived with longer than I remember. I was adopted at a young age and soon after, relocated to Indiana. I have six brothers and four sisters, but only remain close to my little sisters. I want to teach them responsibility and hard work as young women in a difficult world. Growing up, my adopted parents did what they could to make sure I had a good life and knew where I came from, and this resulted in me growing up half in Indiana and half with my mother in New York. My dad was one of my closest friends; he passed away suddenly in the summer of 2018 from natural causes and left my family a mess. I was pregnant with my daughter during that time, and she was the brightest light we needed. In November of 2018, my Elliana Rose was born. After my daughter was born, I worked two jobs, waitressing most nights and working as a residential assistant during the day. After practically missing the first year of my daughter’s life, I knew I wanted and would do so much more for us.

After moving to Fort Wayne we had to deal with a new house, a new routine, and a pandemic all at once. We made some friends and moved again. Soon it became harder and harder to find work and find work that paid. Most of those jobs required a form of a diploma and some college. I researched many places before being referred to The Literacy Alliance by a friend at work. My experience with school has always been negative due to learning difficulties, bullying, harassment from teachers, and constant moving. I gave up on myself early and assumed what I thought was the “real world” would be much more fun and easier. My friend explained that the program at The Literacy Alliance was tailored to our own pace, with teachers and staff always ready to help and a class of people who all wanted to see each other succeed. After putting it off for a little over a year, my fiancé encouraged me again to apply, and in February, I did! By attending The Literacy Alliance, I’ve drastically improved my knowledge and gained skills I can use for future career opportunities.

“My advice, whatever you’re holding yourself back from, just go for it: the HSE exam, the career, the life, anything. Just try! Push away self-doubt and fear, and know that all great things take time, and we’re all on our way.”

My experience at The Literacy Alliance has been incredibly uplifting. From the first day, I was met with encouragement in my classroom. For the most part, the class is independent, which allows us to focus on the areas in which we find ourselves struggling. If we need extra practice, we can ask for and receive extra work we can use to study outside of class. If someone in the class has a harder time, we have our teacher and tutors in the room as well. Alongside them, our career coordinator is always available to help us with things we need to prep to further ourselves after the high school equivalency exam. The environment is always very positive, and I think it helps all of us as students stay motivated and want to continue to progress and see each other progress.

After passing my HSE exam, I plan to start college. This will help me make career decisions and open opportunities that I now know are available. I haven’t decided my major, however, I am interested in multiple things such as healthcare, design, and business. Ideally, my major will incorporate all the things I find important and allow me to find or create a job based on that.

I’m confident in my future, and that’s something some people don’t get to feel. I’m grateful for the people who pushed me, encouraged me, and stuck by my side while I got there. I’m thankful to The Literacy Alliance for giving me the chance to better myself and my life. My advice, whatever you’re holding yourself back from, just go for it: the HSE exam, the career, the life, anything. Just try! Push away self-doubt and fear, and know that all great things take time, and we’re all on our way.

Update: Dani achieved her first goal and passed the HSE exam in late March 2022. We can’t wait to see what she will accomplish next!

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