Eduardo Rodriguez was born and raised in Tucson. He graduated from Tucson High School in 2005. Eduardo has been struggling with reading and writing since he was a kid. In school, he had both mainstream and special education classes where he got extra help, but he still graduated without the skills he needed as an adult.
Eduardo has been in and out of jobs for years. He says they would find out he couldn’t read well and let him go. For example, he recently worked at a fast food restaurant and it was going well. Then Eduardo got moved to a new position where his job was to read orders as they came in. When his performance started dropping he explained he had issues with reading. Rather than move him back to where he had done well, he was let go.
He decided to get reading and writing help because he wants to be more independent and feel like an adult. Eduardo felt embarrassed because someone else was always doing things for him, like reading and writing. He knew he had to do something in order to be more independent.
Before Literacy Connects, Eduardo was in a different program and was cooking for patients in a rehabilitation clinic. That program tried to help him find other resources to help but they never worked out. Some programs told him he didn’t qualify.
Eduardo and his mom went to Pima Community College. Eduardo says a nice lady helped them by suggesting they call Literacy Connects. He’s been coming to Literacy Connects almost a year and says, “I’m enjoying it. I’m a better person since I started coming here. I’m reading more on my own than I was before. They don’t judge you.”
Currently Eduardo is in the Adult Basic Literacy program and comes twice a week. When asked about his teachers at Literacy Connects, Eduardo explains, “They’re really nice. I like working with them.” Now he reads on his own for fun and likes westerns.
“The way I see it, I like it because it keeps your mind going. Okay, what’s going to happen here? That means I have to continue reading. I like books that just keep you going and not all boring where you just want to stop reading. I’m learning new things by reading more.”
“My family is happy. They want me to keep it up and keep on trying. My mom is really proud of me for going to Literacy Connects.”
Eduardo’s first goal is to get his license and a car. His next goal is to get a place of his own and become a chef or a line cook. His favorite dish to cook for family is orange chicken. He only makes it on Saturday because that’s only day he has enough time. His goal is to go to culinary school. He didn’t pass the entrance test the first time
… but he’s going to try again.