Eau Claire (WQOW) - An Eau Claire mother received another chance at higher education after getting help from the Literacy Volunteers of the Chippewa Valley.
Literacy Volunteers said more than 10 percent of adults in the Chippewa Valley struggle with literacy, and in turn, struggle to support themselves and their families.
Hitting the books and hoping to someday have a college degree, Danielle Hammill has been working to earn her GED. Growing up, Hammill's family was always on the move.
"We were just traveling a lot, not really staying in school," Hammill said. "I repeated sixth grade three times, and then I also left for day treatment. I missed a lot of school, and they didn't really know where to put me, so they just put me in the eighth grade. I was completely lost."
After struggling to keep up, Hammill dropped out. Since then, she had tried to get her GED multiple times.
"I never stuck with it. It was always hard for me. I didn't have the skills to be able to pass," Hammill said.
After being referred to the Literacy Volunteers of the Chippewa Valley, she passed her reading and language class, and is one step closer to earning a diploma.
"We offer free services for people needing a GED, or to learn English," Family Literacy Co-Coordinator and Adult Instructor Deb Erwin said. "There are a lot of retired teachers, and they are all volunteers, and they all want to give back to the community. We're usually one-on-one, or in groups of two and three, and that's it."
Hammill said she strives in literacy volunteers because unlike in a classroom, she can get individual help.
"I'm like having real conversations with real people, and I just happen to be learning," Hammill said.
In the same building, Hammill's son, Kaleo, is also learning through the Family Literacy Program. While Hammill studies, Kaleo takes part in structured early childhood education, developing first signs of speech and mastering motion.
"The rapport that we build between students and staff and their children just carries on and eases the parent's mind so they can concentrate on studying," Erwin said.
After getting her GED, Hammill said she would like to study phlebotomy, and later explore other options as a medical laboratory technician.
Literacy volunteers offers an array of programs. In addition to tutoring, they can help students apply for citizenship, give workplace education, and offer instruction at area jails.
Literacy Volunteers of the Chippewa Valley is always looking for new students and volunteers. The program operates through grands and fundraising dollar, and all the services offered are free.
News 18 is a proud sponsor of the Scrabble-Bee, an annual event to raise money for the Literacy Volunteers. The 2016 Scrabble-Bee will be at the Lismore Hotel in downtown Eau Claire on April 21.