Sean is a full-time AmeriCorps member with the Adult Literacy program at the Durham Literacy Center.  The Adult Literacy program is the oldest program at the Durham Literacy Center.  The program works 1 on 1 with adults who are 18 years or older who want to improve their ability to read and understand English texts.  Additionally, there are some students in the program who are pursuing their GED.

Sean Sawyer
Sean Sawyer


I have worked with children in the past, so I have the advantage of having some experience as an instructor. However, working with adults is different. When I was first getting to know the students in the adult literacy program, many of them shared their stories of what brought them there. It’s enough to break your heart, but knowing that they had the resolve and the motivation to earn their GED despite so many challenges is inspiring. I never realized until this service year how big of a problem adult illiteracy is in North Carolina. I learned that it is not uncommon for many adults to be embarrassed about their illiteracy, so they find ways to hide the fact that they have trouble reading as they navigate through life. For someone to come to terms with that problem and feel comfortable enough to be in a vulnerable position in order to seek help shows a great deal of courage. Everyone here has been a source of inspiration to me.

The children I used to work with cannot draw from many life experiences, but I can. I can use these life experiences to make my lessons more relatable and relevant to our adult learners; I feel that really “clicks” with them.

I have enjoyed my service here. The staff members, volunteers and fellow AmeriCorps members at DLC are like a family that I spend about 40 hours a week with. Everyone here is united in a common goal to improve the adult literacy rate in the Research Triangle area.

sean picture

Some adult learners enjoying their lesson


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