When Maria came to one of our classes for the first time, she asked me: “I can not read or write, can I still come?”

Maria was raising her grandchildren because both of their parents were incarcerated. She was intently interested in help and support. Because of her strong interest and deep need, I said yes. Though it would require additional effort, I was happy to make this accommodation. I gave her a workbook and a bag of supplies.

Maria came to every class. She was the only parent who never forgot her book or her supplies — ever.

There was one time she was late. (I always call parents when they are late to encourage them to come — everyone needs encouragement sometimes.) She said, “Well anyway, I don’t have anything to share.” I said, “No. You do. Because you have already raised one family and now you are on your second family. All the young parents really need you. And they love to hear you, Maria. You change the dynamics of the class.” After that, she was never late.

The younger parents really looked to her for wisdom and insight. It felt like days gone by when we used to live in community, and we have aunts and uncles, everyone living in the same city. It’s missing.

Through our classes, we really are creating that support for each other. It has changed Maria’s life, and countless others.

This is a true story from one of our Raising Highly Capable Kids facilitators. Several details and names have been changed to protect the identity of those mentioned in the story.