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Faces among the figures

By Rae Kruger - Independent Staff Writer
Used by permission

 

Marshall resident goes before legislators at state Capitol to share how Adult Basic Education has helped change his life.

MARSHALL — Mohamed Ahmed told a story Tuesday in front of dozens of legislators and others at the state Capitol in St. Paul.

Ahmed said Wednesday while he shared his story, it is a story of many others who’ve used Adult Basic Education in Marshall.

Ahmed of Marshall works in human resources at Turkey Valley Farms in Marshall and completed his GED requirements last year through Adult Basic Education in Marshall.“I’m glad I got my GED through (ABE),” Ahmed said. “My wife uses classes as well. It helps us, helps our kids, because we can help them as parents and get more involved in their education.

 “A lot of people depend on help from here.”


 

Read the text of Mohamed Ahmed's speech before the legislators at the State Capital HERE

Vickie Radloff, an instructor with the Marshall ABE program, said Ahmed was one of the human faces in an expanse of statistics legislators often get on ABE programs.

Ahmed spoke as part of the Literacy Minnesota Legislative Forum on Tuesday at the Capitol. The day’s goal was to better inform legislators of the importance of ABE classes and the need to better fund the programs in Minnesota.

“What I said was the (ABE) program has helped a lot of Minnesotans, especially in Marshall where the need is great and people depend on ABE,” Ahmed said. “Business and organizations use ABE.”

Ahmed knows that immigrants and others who lack literacy and other skills can struggle at the workplace and in the community.

For example, a child brings a report card home from school and the parent can’t read it, Ahmed said.

Employees at Turkey Valley have brought him personal letters so he can read the letters for them, Ahmed said.

Ahmed came to Marshall in 1999 and began to take ABE classes.

Like many others, it was tough to find time for classes between working, family demands and paying the bills, Ahmed said.

He stuck with classes and eventually reached his goal of completing his GED.

Now, Ahmed works with ABE staff to make sure others get the same opportunity he had.

Radloff said ABE has strong connections with Turkey Valley and after a recent meeting with plant officials determined that a 7-9 p.m. ABE class would serve many employees. ABE has already offered 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. classes.

Those classes can’t happen without money, Ahmed said. ABE will serve as many people as possible with as much money it has, Ahmed said.

But more money is needed to ensure that ABE can serve the need in Marshall and in Minnesota, Ahmed said.

Ahmed was one of three ABE learners who spoke Tuesday. He was the only speaker from outside the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

“I represented ABE and showed the success ABE brings to people,” Ahmed said. “The changes made in people’s lives and the difference for a better way of life.”

A native of Somalia, Ahmed said he was aware of the opportunity he had to be in a state capitol and speak in front of legislators.

In Somalia, he wouldn’t have been able to say anything against his government and probably wouldn’t have ever been inside a government capitol, Ahmed said.

“It’s something people take for granted,” Ahmed said of living in Minnesota and the U.S.

Ahmed already knows the next story he wants to share at the Capitol.

“The next time I want to take my family for a tour of the Capitol — as a Minnesotan, I want to share that with my family and children,” Ahmed said.

Contact Rae Kruger at rkruger@marshallindependent.com

 

 

 


Lynd woman who was inspired by trip to Capitol is working on attaining GED.

By Rae Kruger - Independent Staff Writer
Used by permission


Adult Basic Education will help make things better for Nancy Monzon of Lynd.

Monzon is taking GED classes and plans to enroll in Certified Nurses Assistant courses through ABE.

“A GED will help me get better job opportunities in Marshall,” said Monzon said, who wants a “better future for herself” and a “better future for her kids.”

Monzon was with a group of Marshall ABE representatives at the Capitol on Tuesday for a literacy forum, where she and others stressed the need for the state to better fund ABE programs.

Monzon spoke one-on-one with legislators, including Rep. Marty Seifert of Marshall.

“(Seifert) really focused on what I was saying,” Monzon said.

To Monzon, it was inspiring and encouraging that legislators were listening to what she and formal speakers had to say about ABE.

Monzon was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, but was raised in California until she moved to Marshall about six years ago. She dropped out of high school in the 11th grade and had a child at a young age.

She’s married now and has three children. It’s important for her and her family for her to earn her GED, get a good job and improve, Monzon said.

“Our kids look up to us,” Monzon said. “If they see their parents as good, wealthy and educated, that’s what they will want to be.”

The money the state invests in ABE means people can recover from mistakes, Monzon said.

“It’s a big decision once you decide to go (to ABE) classes but they are there for you,” Monzon said.

ABE helps people better educated, helps to get people off welfare and other aid, and makes a community better, Monzon said.

Contact Rae Kruger at rkruger@marshallindependent.com

 

 

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E-Mail:    Marshall Adult Education

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