An Open Door Leads to Opportunities

“After two years of working with the volunteer on a one-to-one basis, I was accepted into the program that changed my life forever.”

Growing up in Port Alberni, Steven Mulvey was like any other kid – he was active, easygoing, filled with dreams and aspirations and he had plans. Unfortunately, Steven faced challenges that would limit his choices…challenges that were invisible to most.

From an early age, Steven was not interested in reading of any kind. He continuously tested below average for reading and writing and he struggled to keep up in class, which caused him to get discouraged. Steven fell behind early and eventually he was moved into a special class, which had an impact on his confidence and his self-esteem.

Like others in his position, Steven found ways around his reading and writing challenges, which eventually got him through school. Although he received his high school diploma, Steven did not gain the literacy skills he needed to succeed in today’s modern world. He actually graduated with a high school diploma that he could not ready!

As he moved to the next chapter in his life, Steven found himself working, as he put it, “…in mind-numbing jobs.” He hated what he was doing, but he also knew his options were limited. But instead of getting down on himself, as he did in high school, Steven turned his frustration into determination and he came up with a plan.

“I wanted to do something creative…I really like working with my hands,” he says with a smile on his face. “I heard about Literacy Alberni Society so I walked through their door one day and said, ‘I need your help.’”

As part of the intake process at the Literacy Alberni Society, Steven had an assessment done. Amazingly, after graduating with a diploma from high school, Steven was assessed at a Grade 3 reading level.

“I wasn’t surprised; I knew I had trouble reading, but it didn’t faze me. I was determined to make this work.” Steven was paired with a literacy volunteer and so began his journey.

After two years of working with the volunteer on a one-to-one basis, Steven and the confidence he needed to apply for his welding apprenticeship. He was accepted into the program and has since graduated. Not bad for a young man who was reading at a Grade 3 level!

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