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Adult Students Discover Their Stories

Posted by Yves Etheart

Queens Library’s Adult Learner Program (ALP) provides free services and resources for lifelong learning to the communities of Queens, with the belief that everyone can achieve success given the opportunities to do so.

We think that the recent creative accomplishments of several of our ALP students are definite proof!

Rodolfo dos Santos Rodrigues at NYU’s Kimmel Center.

Congratulations to Rodolfo Dos Santo Rodrigues, Kazi Gulshan, Dolares Jones, Karina Kantsavaya, Nazmun Naher, and Yasmeen Saleh, whose stories were selected from hundreds of submissions for the latest issue of New York University’s Literacy Review, an annual journal of writing from students at adult literacy programs throughout New York City. This is the fourth time that our students’ writings have been chosen for publication in The Literacy Review.

Thanks as well to instructors Mark Mehler, James McMenamin, Ebru Mestizo Yenal, Fran Schnall, and their colleagues at the Central Library, Elmhurst, and Peninsula Adult Learning Centers, and the ESOL program at Sunnyside, for encouraging and nurturing all six of these wonderful writers.

At a dinner celebration and special reading that was held at NYU’s Kimmel Center, Rodolfo was chosen to read his poem for the occasion. Michelle Johnston, the Center Manager at Elmhurst ALC, also attended this function, as everyone enjoyed the talented words of adult students city wide.

Actor Jeffrey Joseph with Luis Loli at Symphony Space (left), James McMenamin and Rodolfo dos Santos Rodrigues at NYU’s Kimmel Center (right).

Eight other Elmhurst ALC students—Annie Chang, Tung Lung (Tom) Chang, Noor Ul Ain, Claudia Rendon, Luis Loli, Hui Fu Hou (Sister Martina), and Li-Yue Cai—had their creative works chosen by Symphony Space for its All Write! Adult Literacy Program. At a special event at Symphony Space, our students’ stories and poems were performed by three professional actors, and those same works will be published in an upcoming literary magazine. Congratulations to them, and to their teachers Rifat Bhatti and James McMenamin for giving them the training and inspiration to succeed.

"Elmhurst is one of the most diverse communities in New York. Once my students are here at Queens Library, everyone is treated with respect and dignity, and given a platform to relate their own stories, dreams, and future wants, and connect with and empathize with others facing their own path of strength and success,” said James McMenamin. “It’s what makes the Library great, and it’s what makes Queens great.”