Celebrating Our Journey

About the project

The project was envisioned to encourage new readers to take another leap in their learning process, to put pen to paper, and to write their stories of growth and discovery to share with others.

The ability to communicate is the ability to connect to our own history, our families, and the world.  The stories in these collections celebrate the power of adults who improved their ability to communicate by learning to read as adults.

This project is funded  by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act.

View the 2019 publication of Celebrating our Journey, Volume 11.


With each new volume of Celebrating Our Journey, we are reminded of the power of the written word. The ability to write our language for others to read has been the way we communicate across generations to reveal history, whether it is the great history of a nation or the intimate history of a family. It is a gift we share with people in our lives now, and with people who come later. In this 11th volume, more than 150 Oklahoma adult learners have put pen to paper to add their written contribution to the collection of stories and personal histories that help illuminate who we are. As a published work, it will find a place on home and library bookshelves, and be handed down to younger generations to discover.

No matter our age, or our command of the language, we recognize ourselves in the stories of these adult xvi Celebrating Our Journey Volume 11 learners: the quest for an education, the hard work to reach a goal, the desire to provide the best for our loved ones, and the promise of a better life. And so… we celebrate the bravery, courage, and the tenacity of spirit these adult learners have shared in the pages of this special book. Their new found knowledge of reading and writing promises a brighter day for them… and for us, as well.

Leslie Gelders
Literacy Administrator
Oklahoma Department of Libraries


Good Advice From My Grandma

I remember my grandma as a great woman. She always tried to help others and she was a hard worker. She gave us the best of herself. She was like a mother to me, she raised me since I was one year old. She insisted that I stay in school. When I was ten years old, I told her, “I want to work part time as a helper in a mechanic shop.” She told me this, “Juan, I don’t have any money to leave you for your heritage, we don’t have our own house or possessions. The only thing I can give you as a heritage is the school. Please do not neglect your studies. It’s the most important thing I can give to you.”

These words were written in my heart and I have been using them all my life. After her burial, I was in the school working hard for her memory and her heritage. After that I was working and studying at the high school, later the University, and I never stopped studying. Always I have something to learn. Most of the time the knowledge helps me to support my family.

When my wife had an offer to work here in USA, we left everything to have a better life in this wonderful country. I started to learn the language, and later I wanted to take the GED. When I finished the GED, I studied welding at the High Plains Technology Center, and I will finish this May 2019.

I want to do the same for my boys, give to them the same heritage that my grandma gave to me. “Always study because it’s the only thing you can preserve, and it will help you in your life.”

This is the heritage I have to give to my family.

Juan Carlos Castro Ramirez
Northwest OK Literacy Council, Woodward

See all stories in Volume 11.