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Philadelphia Mayor's Commission on Literacy (MCOL) recognizes Training Fund student and her tutors

This month, the Mayor's Commission on Literacy's website features the inspiring story of Training Fund student Marisol Olivero and her tutors, Sylvia Cottmon and Keith Forsyth. 

Philadelphia, PA - January 4th, 2016 - Text by MCOL: 
Twenty-three year old Marisol Olivero proves that there is no challenge more challenging than the challenge to improve yourself!

“As long as you keep trying, you never fail,” she says.

Marisol walked through the doors of our  myPLACE℠ campus at the District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund six months ago. After graduating from Samuel Fels High School in 2010, she planned to attend Community College of Philadelphia. But there was one problem: Marisol tested substantially below the minimum requirements on the Community College of Philadelphia placement test.

“When Marisol began our program, she tested at a fifth grade level in math and reading. Not bad but far lower than needed to enter college. She also needed added support because of her learning disability,” said Training Fund Volunteer Manager Lynette Hazelton.

In just six months she has improved her literacy levels, jumping three grade levels from fifth grade to eighth grade in Language Arts. Through tears, Marisol’s mom, Marisol Hatchett, expressed how proud she is of her daughter.

“myPLACE℠ at District 1199C has been a blessing to us in so many ways. Her study habits have improved, her tutors are always so supportive.  We are just really grateful.”

Olivero credits her tutors Sylvia Cottmon and Keith Forsyth for keeping her on track and making learning fun and says that the small classroom setting has allowed her to really maintain her focus. After completing The Mayor’s Commission on Literacy tutor training Sylvia and Keith both volunteer their time at the District 1199C Training Fund.

“Class is excellent and amazing,” Olivero says of her history lessons with Sylvia. “Ms. Cottmon always finds ways to help me understand.  She is patient with me and always finds time for her students.  I can’t stop reading!”

As a result of improving her literacy levels, Olivero will also transition to a larger classroom. ‘This is Marisol’s next big challenge – learning in a large, diverse classroom. This will be a new experience for her,” said Hazelton.

Her ultimate goal is to attend The Art Institute of Philadelphia.

“Art is life. It’s everything. I want to use my talent to change the world while focusing on individuals with disabilities,” said Olivero. 

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