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Celebrating our Journey

About the project

The project was envisioned to encourage new readers to take another leap in their learning process, to put pen to paper, and to write their stories of growth and discovery to share with others.

The ability to communicate is the ability to connect to our own history, our families, and the world. The stories in these collections celebrate the power of adults who improved their ability to communicate by learning to read as adults.

This project is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act.

From Cuba to America

Osbel Ortiz has been studying English as a second language with the Hollis class of Great Plains literacy program for 3 years. After much effort and preparation, he passed the naturalization test and was approved to take the oath to become a US citizen on May 14, 2021.

Osbel left his home country of Cuba in 2014. His grandfather gave him the money for his trip to the United States by selling his house in Cuba. Osbel’s dream as a youth was to live in a noncommunist country with the freedom to work and be responsible for making his own choices in his life.

He says, “Life in this country gives me the opportunities I would have never encountered in my own country of Cuba.”

He began his first job in the United States wearing clothes and shoes that were given to him by the family who also gave him a place to stay. He worked several manual labor jobs so he could obtain his CDL license and started to learn to speak English with friends helping him until he was able to start taking ESL classes with the Harmon County Great Plains Literacy Council in 2018. He enjoyed the socialization in the naturalization class, listening to the history lessons of the United States in comparison to other countries of the students also attending. He applied himself fully until he was able to apply for his citizenship. Every step of his journey has helped him reach his goals to receive citizenship in the midst of the COVID–19 pandemic and achieve what his grandfather sacrificed so long ago.

“I greatly appreciate all the help I have received since I came to the United States and know the decision my grandfather and I made years ago was the right one.”

Osbel Ortiz
Great Plains Literacy Council, Altus/Harmon County

Oklahoma’s adult learning and literacy programs are always reaching out for new students, tutors, and sponsors.

For questions, please contact the Literacy Resource Office

Last Modified on Nov 28, 2023