In an Adult Education Classroom, a Special Friendship Forms

Edie Cole has dedicated the past ten years volunteering at Grace Place. With an extensive background in education, Edie works directly with students in the Adult Education Program and helps adults who are seeking to obtain their GED, learn English as a Second Language (ESL), or improve their reading proficiency. But for Edie it’s more than just strengthening literacy skills, she’s built long-lasting friendships with her students and is emotionally invested in their futures. “Maria is one of my oldest students. We have been together since I first started in the very beginning,” said Edie.

Edie was one the first people Maria met at Grace Place, let alone in the United States shortly after emigrating from Mexico. Over the years, Edie has supported Maria’s decision to become a U.S. Citizen and guided her through the process. “I stressed to Maria that now more than ever, she needs to become a citizen,” said Edie. “I hear all these terrible stories about deportation and I don’t want anything like that to happen to Maria, especially since her children are born Americans.” With discipline and countless late night study sessions, Maria passed the U.S. Citizenship Exam just a few weeks before Thanksgiving.

“When I first heard the news, my first reaction was that we need to celebrate!” exclaimed Edie Cole, “This is Maria’s first Thanksgiving as an American, so I had to make it special,” beamed Edie. “My class celebrated with traditional American food. Turkey, mash potatoes, green bean casserole and American flags! The ladies loved it. I’m so proud of Maria for accomplishing this goal and I’m so happy to know that she isn’t going anywhere.”