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Aldemari and her daughter Genesis began coming to Grace Place in 2013 when Genesis was one-year-old. Aldemari had to quit school after third grade to help support her family, so she knows first-hand how difficult life can be without education. She is especially committed to Genesis’ success.

Both Genesis and her Mom had blossomed tremendously in the Bright Beginnings programs during the school year. The summer of 2016, before Genesis went into kindergarten, Diane Ponton, the director of family literacy at Grace Place approached Aldemari to join the kindergarten readiness summer program to ensure that they didn’t lose any learning the summer before Genesis was to enter kindergarten.

The eight-week summer kindergarten readiness program equips both the mom and future kindergarten student with the knowledge and skills to be successful in school. The program also gives them homework – the books, the lessons, and materials to extend the learning outside the classroom and into the home.

So now that Genesis “graduated” from the summer program and is attending kindergarten at Golden Gate Elementary, how is she doing? Her mom Aldemari says it best:

“Genesis went into kindergarten knowing her alphabet, her colors, her shapes, how to write her name and how to read. The kindergarten teacher always says such nice things about Genesis. She told me Genesis is a natural leader, and that she reads better than most others in her class. The teacher told me Genesis has skills that she rarely sees in kindergarten students. Her teacher used words like ‘inventive, creative, confident and independent’ to describe Genesis. Those are skills I never had a chance to develop growing up.”

Genesis’ father is also amazed at her progress. He asks her every day, “Genesis, how is it that you know so much?” While Genesis answers her dad with a modest ‘I don’t know,’ her actions tell the story of a bright, driven, charismatic kindergartener who comes home from school, immediately starts reading and will not go to dinner until she finishes her homework.

“Grace Place and the people who support the programs have changed Genesis’ life,” says Aldemari. “The programs have also changed me into a better mother. Now, I know not only how to cook and care for my children, but now, I can be their teacher. I never had the confidence or education to ever think I could be a teacher for anybody.”

Genesis also has big dreams. She not only wants one career, but three – as a detective, a doctor, and a lawyer – simultaneously!

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