A Walk in Callie’s Shoes


“This is my story, and I’m sticking to it.”

Callie’s* story is one of great perseverance.

Throughout her life, a speech impediment caused her to drop out of school and loose several job opportunities. She was the victim of a hit-and-run accident when she was a teenager. Despite medical predictions that she would never have children or walk again, she has done both. She is the proud mother of “three beautiful girls.”

After watching her own mother pass away from Breast Cancer, Callie had to battle the disease herself. She lost her hair and underwent surgery. She had an allergic reaction to the treatment and was in the hospital constantly. Callie even tried to maintain a job doing janitorial work throughout the process.

After a series of unhealthy relationships, trials and tribulations, Callie found herself living in a local shelter. It was there that she met the man of her dreams, and set off down a new path in life.

Today, the couple is working on Callie’s “Bucket List.”  She wrote the list, but her husband is joining her in accomplishing the items. One by one, the couple marks off the different goals. Recently, they were able to put a check by, “Go outside of Jacksonville” with a honeymoon downstate.

Callie will tell you that the most important thing on her list is obtaining her GED. She is enrolled in both reading and math classes at Learn to Read, and says she “loves her teachers.”

Callie also wants to see others succeed; after she told several of her friends about the free adult education classes at Learn to Read, staff members began to see student enrollment grow.

Determination is on Callie’s side. When weather is a barrier, she still finds a way to get to the bus and get to class. Recently, one of her teachers saw Callie walk in to class out of a terrible storm. She remarked, “Rain, sleet, or snow, I’m getting this GED.”

*Callie’s name was changed to respect the privacy of the student.