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Exuberance & Excitement Exudes At Franklin Learning Center & Library

By Franklin Learning Center Staff

Students come to the Franklin Learning Center to learn English, improve their reading and writing skills, prepare for the GED, or get ready for the U.S. citizenship test. Learners come from more than 20 different countries and range in age from early twenties to middle eighties. Some study for a long time, and some stay for only a short while. Yet while all students are different, they share a strong determination and commitment to life-long learning.

Originally from the city of Galkayo in the northern part of Somalia, Gaheyr Warsame came to study at the Franklin Learning Center in 2011, not long after he first arrived in Minnesota. For the last three years, Gaheyr has been studying very diligently and coming very regularly. He has already studied at FLC for more than 1500 hours! His hard work has led to good results. Gaheyr has finished the math books on fractions, decimals, percentages, and introductory algebra and geometry; now he is working on an algebra book with more advanced equations. He has also increased his vocabulary; whenever he meets with a new word, he always looks up its definition and memorizes its meanings. On the whole, he definitely likes coming to the FLC. “I will never forget the staff, the volunteer tutors, and the students at the Franklin Library, “ he says.

In addition, Gaheyr has also done some personal writing in which he shared some information about his life outside of school. In his first story, he had written about his life in rural Somalia and his family’s herds of camels, goats, and sheep. Gaheyr still has many good memories from that time. In another story, he wrote about his “happiest day” when he was finally granted official refugee status. Most recently, Gaheyr shared his difficult but sometimes funny experiences with snow when he first moved from Kenya to Buffalo, New York.

Volunteers at the Franklin Learning Center work one-to-one or in small groups with adult learners. Many of the tutors are eager college students and many more are community members who like to help. Volunteer Harry Baumert is in the latter group.

Born and raised in Nebraska, Harry lived most of his life in Iowa, where he worked for 30 years as a newspaper photographer for the Des Moines Register. Soon after moving to Minnesota about four years ago, Harry signed up to volunteer as a tutor at the Franklin Learning Center. A very diligent and caring helper, Harry has contributed more than 350 hours of service. When tutoring, Harry especially enjoys seeing the light of understanding come on when concepts become clear to FLC students. He also appreciates getting challenging student questions which test his knowledge and teaching skills. Harry is also continually impressed with his students’ desire to learn. The “students’ hard work and dedication are inspiring, considering the many obstacles they face,” he explains.

In his life outside of the learning center, Harry is also an avid bicyclist. You can see him on his bike even when it’s very cold! It is not too surprising then that Harry reports loving the Twin Cities’ bicycle culture, as well as the vibrant economy and ethnic diversity of the area. Harry and his family are also very frequent users of the local libraries. Whether he needs books for himself or for his grandchildren, Harry enjoys going to the Franklin, Southeast, and Minneapolis Central libraries. “When you’re at the library, the only limits are the limits of your imagination and curiosity,” he explains.

Gaheyr and Harry often come to the learning center on the same day, and they enjoy working together. Staff at the Franklin Learning Center feel very fortunate to have both of them here, and they appreciate all of the energy and enthusiasm that all tutors and students bring to the library.

The Franklin Library 100th Anniversary Open House

Saturday, Oct. 11, 1–5 p.m. Don’t miss the celebration of Franklin Library’s 100 years of service to our community! Open house will include historic exhibits, slide show, open mike and photo booth fun for the whole family. Sponsored by Friends of the Franklin Library.

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