“When I was in school, the teacher would be talking to the class, but I didn’t feel like she was talking
to me,” says Dasmond. “I had trouble with reading and that made it hard for me to understand the lessons.
I was afraid to ask for extra help, so I just fell behind.” As it grew more difficult to catch up, Dasmond
began to wonder if there was a better way to spend his time. “I started to think that school just wasn’t
When Dasmond dropped out, he was on the fast track to becoming a very real statistic; in fact, African-American
male dropouts are three times more likely to go to prison than their Caucasian counterparts. “I was just hanging
out on the streets, up to no good. I was probably going to end up in jail.”
After becoming a father, everything changed. “I knew I wanted to be a good father who could provide for
my daughter. And that meant going back to school and getting a career.” Dasmond’s girlfriend told him about
Learn4Life and Dasmond agreed to try it out. “I was really surprised that my teacher took the time to get
to know me personally. It felt like she really cared about me.”
To address his reading challenge, Dasmond’s supervising teacher created a system where teachers and tutors
would read aloud with him during lessons. “I didn’t feel like I was doing it alone. They would read it with me.
And then before I knew it, I was reading entire novels by myself.” Dasmond graduated from Learn4Life last
spring and wrote a poem for his teacher to thank her. Now, he studies English at his local community college
and works part-time.
“I was probably going to end up in jail.”
“…before I knew it, I was reading entire novels by myself.”