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Adult Education Program (AEP) Writer's Workshop

A few years ago, Alan Goldsmith donated a few sets of the conversation-starting game he created, Noodletalk. We found that the questions the game asks are also great topics for essays. In 2008, volunteer Laney Sokolow created the Adult Education Program (AEP) Weekly Writer’s Workshop, where our AEP students can focus on their writing skills in preparation for the GED test. As per usual, this week the Adult Education Program (AEP) weekly writer workshop had some stellar essays. These two essays were particularly moving. Sohier wrote about a time she was in a life-threatening situation Rebecca answered the question, “What makes me tick?”

Life Threatening Situation

By Sohier

TASK Adult Education Program

My life-threatening situation happened many years ago. This situation involved my cousin, who became my husband. My marriage was arranged in Egypt when I was 15½ years old. I did not have a choice of whom to marry. This was a family arranged marriage to my cousin. This marriage was not good from the beginning, but I had to stay because women had no say.

The abuse began even before I had my children. My husband would harm me in different ways. I complained to my mother, but she thought this would eventually work out. I thought that once I had my children things would improve. It didn’t, it only got worse once I had my first two children. My husband decided to move to America, and I decided to go with him so my children would have their father in their lives. My parents divorced when I was ten and my father was not part of my life after that.

Once we were settled in Trenton, we had five more children, but the abuse never changed. I stayed in the marriage because I wanted my children to have a good future.

To help me learn English, I took a job at Dunkin Donuts working the cash register. My husband worked as the night manager at a Holiday Inn. My manager, Beverly, at Dunkin Donuts noticed the bruises on my face and body and asked me questions about my life at home. I still thought my husband would change and things would get better. I was wrong. Finally, Beverly explained that women in America did not have to stay in abusive marriages. She told me about Women’s Space shelter, called them for me, picked me and my seven children up, and took us there. After a week or two, the Women’s Space social worker found me a house and school for my children in Trenton.

I stayed at Dunkin Donuts for another two years, then I worked as a housekeeper at the Trenton Center, and at Brothers of Israel synagogue where I met Rabbi Hirsh. He recommended me to Greenwood House, where I worked as a physical therapist/nurses aide for two years. Then I started private duty work, and raised my seven children by myself on $100 per month that my husband gave me, plus welfare.

Being on my own taught me to be strong, and rely on myself. My husband returned to Egypt, but I was able to help my children graduate from high school, and, with scholarships, all seven graduated with college degrees. They are all married and I have six grandchildren now.

My years of abuse and having my life threatened are long over. From a young girl with no say about her life and future, I have become a strong, independent woman who is a good role model for my children and grandchildren.

What Makes Me Tick?

By Rebecca

April 26, 2012

TASK Adult Education Program

There are many things that make me tick. God, my little sister, and my determination to do better are a few examples of what keep me going on a day to day basis. These are the things in my life that are the most important.

Knowing that God woke me up this morning is enough to keep on ticking. Apparently, it’s a reason for me to be here if I’m still living life. I know He will not throw something at me that I cannot handle. Having God to protect and love me lets me know it’s ok to keep going.

Alexis, my little sister, is my world. We are best friends. I have to be a good example for her. When our parents aren’t here anymore we will only have each other. I love her too much. I must keep going to let her know we will be alright.

As for my determination, I strive to do the best that I can be in life. I want a better life for myself. I will stumble, and I will fall, but I will get up an try again. I have been through so much and I’m only nineteen. It’s time for a change and it’s up to me to make that change.

Determination, God, and my younger sister are what keeps me striving to excel. I don’t want to be taking up space on this planet. I will make a difference in my lifetime, no matter how big or small. Nothing will stop me from moving up the ladder. I know what I want in life and I am going to grab hold of my opportunities to succeed.

If you would like to become a tutor in our Adult Education Program, please contact Kelly Hansen, Adult Education Coordinator at or (609) 695-5456 x 107.

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