Welcome to Write Away!
The writing forum for Project Read learners.

We've redesigned our blog so that adult learners working at Project Read can share what they have written with other learners, tutors, and the public. There are a few simple guidelines to be aware of.
  1. This is a moderated site, so submissions and comments will first be reviewed before being approved and published.
  2. Adult learners submitting their writing have the option of using their first name (only) or using "anonymous" for authorship.
  3. We wish to honor the writing efforts of the adult learner/authors, so no major copy editing will be applied, but we may suggest minor corrections in consultation with the author.
  4. Only active Project Read learners are eligible to submit their writing to the Write Away blog and there are two ways of doing this: send submissions via email to projectread@sfpl.org, or stop by the office with a hard copy of your writing.
  5. The views and opinions expressed on this web site are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not represent those of the San Francisco Public Library and/or the City and County of San Francisco.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Power of Lawrencia's Determination

    Growing up, you always had a mind of your own, you did not let other kids tell you what to do. Friends didn't persuade you in any way. You did things that were good for you. That is how I know you are strong, and only do things if you want to, not what other kids ask you to do.
    Coming to the U.S., we were all we had. You let me know that we can do things our self without relying on anyone to do it for us. We also had fun together sitting on the porch and looking at other kids go by, laughing and talking shit. That was fun for us! When it came to school, you encouraged me to do my homework on time and helped when I needed help.
    You have always been a strong person, but you took your strength to the next level when you started living by yourself. You were going to school, paying your own bills, and you didn't let money hold you back. Instead, you were motivated to finish school, and you did it!

    You are a nurse! You have a B.S. in Nursing, and you were determined to achieve your education. I am extremely proud of you. You motivate me to continue with my education.

-- Remi E.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Break Silence: Accessible Voting

     Did you know that there is a special accessible voting machine at the City Hall Voting Center to help people with reading and writing disabilities? As an adult literacy learner at the San Francisco Public Library, I will be using this machine. The accessible voting machine is available now and I will use it to vote by Election Day on November 6. With the accessible voting machine, there is no excuse not to vote! We must BREAK SILENCE on the trickery and the confusion on the ballot that comes with politics. This trickery and confusion may frustrate and impact the majority of our city's low income population. We must be mindful of things like ranked choice voting - the second choice is mandatory, if not, your vote will be voided. We must vote regardless, just to be counted and to show that OUR OWN LIVES MATTER.

Ms. D. Gigante

Friday, September 28, 2018

Breeak Silence: Invisible Disabilities

Did you know that some disabilities can be invisible? I’ve always had a learning disability, and now a mental health disability, while living in San Francisco public housing. We must Break Silence on Invisible Disabilities and not judge only with our eyes. I have been a victim of a violent crime and now I have been a victim of a non-violent crime: I’ve been discriminated against under the Americans with Disabilities Act. I’ve been underserved because I appear to look “good” and healthy. I wish I could be safe, healthy, and feel good inside instead of looking good on the outside. “I’m just a dressed up mess,” I always say! I’ve had to jump through hoops as I navigated through services and health providers like food banks and mental health providers as I pursued my journey to health and wellness. I had to advocate for myself, for my healing and wellbeing.

I plead to service providers and my community to take time to understand and be more compassionate of invisible disabilities. Let’s all get educated on the ADA laws and provide great service to all.
-- Ms. D. Gigante

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Paratransit Frustration

     I use Paratransit because my legs give out unexpectedly due to spinal stenosis and I use a wheelchair. I also have diabetes and have to take medicine at prescribed times every day.
     Even though I schedule my rides one week in advance and ask for a time one to two hours before I need to arrive, they put me as an "add on". Sometimes, they send a car after I have told the dispatcher that I am in a wheelchair and need a van. I have been picked up late and left sitting outside without notice many times. For example, on August 29, 2018, I was scheduled to be picked up at home at 4 o'clock. After waiting, I called dispatch and they said I would have a one and a half hour wait due to traffic and a ballgame. I missed my scheduled appointment. On August 8, 2018, I was left stranded at Civic Center for two and a half hours. Finally, I took Muni home, which was very difficult in an electric wheelchair, and I missed my diabetes medication.
     This week, I had two conversations with a supervisor at Paratransit. On September 10th, he was very nice and understanding when I told him about my bad experiences with Paratransit. He said he would send me information about taxis for people with wheelchairs, On September 12th, I called him again when my ride was 45 minutes late. He provided me with three van taxi numbers. When I called them, one number was disconnected, one number went straight to voice mail, the third number answered and he said he would call back in 4 minutes. He called back two hours later and said he was sorry he forgot to call back. He was in the South Bay and unavailable to pick up.
     Several Paratransit drivers I know have quit because of poor management. They have specific complaints about someone in management. Most, but not all, of the people who take reservations are rude. Some are polite and compassionate, but that is very seldom.
     Something needs to be done at the 12th street office! I am crying out for help, for the mayor to look into this matter because we, as passengers, need service. I am not just asking for myself, but for people all over San Francisco to get to their appointments and home so they can get their medication. Paratransit has no conscience about their passengers and feels it's okay to provide bad service when it is not.

-- Theresa

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Break Silence / End Hep C

       Something that I wanted to touch on is the fact that I am a Hepatitis C survivor. Did you know that 1/3 of those diagnosed with Hepatitis C are African-Americans when we only make up 6% of the population? After my diagnosis, I was worried, lost and at one of the lowest points of my life, and I was scared to seek treatment. I was feeling lousier by the day. Upon my diagnosis it was clear that it was the time to act, so I bit the bullet and never looked back. Since then I have attended several support groups and meetings with other people who have been cured, which has given me a new outlook on life. This lead me to do bigger and better things with the AIDS Foundation, the drug addicts union, and the needle exchange program in a way to help others any way that I can. What started as a concern has blossomed into a passion that I will continue to help others with. The way to keep what I have is to give it freely to others. As I continue to pay it forward, I hope others will continue to do the same. BREAKING SILENCE!
- Ms. D. Gigante

Friday, March 30, 2018

You Are Doing the Right Thing

    Without Project Read, my life would be nothing, that is true. I love Project Read and the people are nice. If I have a problem, they help me. It's a great blessing to be here. It's good for everybody to learn to read, to change their lives forever, to reach their goal, and to have a good life. That's a positive thing to do. I never thought I would write something like this.
    I am proud of being here at Project Read and I've learned a lot. It is a pleasure being here. I work with my phonics exercises. I check my email. I look at how to build Fuller truck transmissions. Back on the east coast, we build them on the table, but the one I saw online did it differently. The way they do it here is quicker. I saw how they did the timing. It was different than how I use to do it. I read about how to adjust valves on a Caterpillar engine. A Caterpillar engine is easier to adjust than a Cummings engine on a Mack truck. I learned how to rebuild truck rears from seeing it on a computer.
-- Eugene


    A long time ago, two alley cats, Ruff and Tuff, lived in the alley behind the Cat Lady's house.
    One day, Ruff and Tuff were doing their usual cat scratching act, when they came across a bag with a ribbon tied around it. Ruff swiped at it, then Tuff grabbed it and into the Cat Lady's house they went. There were cats everywhere, cats were on the icebox, cats covered the furniture, cats laid on the shelves. An old tommy cat said, "What do you have there?" Ruff replied, "Well, it's a bag, so it must be a cat." That's when one of the cats said, "Let it out, let it out!"
    Ruff and Tuff both grabbed the ribbon and pulled, the bag came open and out came a fuzzy little furry creature. One of the cats shouted, "What an odd looking cat." The old tom replied, "When you were a baby, you looked different, too." Then one of the kittens asked, "Well, what does the card say?" "Gouda"
    Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months. Years went by. Gouda loved his home, he liked taking cat naps, lapping saucers of milk, and chasing balls of yarn.
    One day, Ruff and Tuff ran by him and straight out the door. Gouda thought it was a game of tag, so out the door he went after them. He chased Tuff straight up a tree and out on a branch. Tuff leaped to the next tree and that's when Gouda froze.
    People walking by him started to gather. Gouda then heard firetrucks and saw flashing lights. Gouda was scared and started to howl.
    Gouda was happy when he saw a ladder coming towards him. The fireman brought him down the ladder. As soon as the man put him down, Gouda wagged his tail with relief and ran down the alley.
    When he turned the corner, Gouda was surprised to see a man with a big net. Gouda ran this way and that way trying to escape. He got caught anyway and was tossed in the back of a truck. First the tree, now the truck. When will he get back home to his saucer of milk?
    Gouda noticed that there were other creatures in the truck with him. It was odd that they looked more like him than his brothers back home, he thought.
    As he was thinking about this, the truck started to move. They knew they were off to the pound. One by one, the animals were loaded off the truck and into a giant cage. First went Snow, an 11-month-old energetic little girl, always trying to get other dogs to escape. Next it was Gouda's turn to go into the cage, followed by Tuck, an eleven-year-old dog, or better, for he did not want to move. Right then, Snow kept exciting all the animals which kept the man very busy trying to keep them all in the cage. He was so busy he forgot the gate was open. Out they went.
    Gouda ran side by side with his new friends, panting and wagging their tails. This is when it hit him, he was a dog! He instantly felt closer with his new brothers and knew they had to get away from the dog catcher. So, he brought his new friends as fast as he could down the alley and through the window to join Ruff and Tuff and all the other animals. Gouda was relieved to be home with his old and new brothers. He went over to drink a saucer of milk.
    To this day, people still talk about all the odd cats at the Cat Lady's house.
The End.

-- Russell

Project Read Authors at SFMOMA

Theresa, Eugene, Demetria, Russell & Claudia
Project Read Authors' Night San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Break Silence 4B

Why, when I called 911 when my friends and I were victims of another drive-by shooting in public housing, did I have enough time to speak to two family members and an SFPD officer who happened to be a long-time family friend? And there were no sirens. Why was there such a lack of urgency? More than 30 minutes is unacceptable when you’re only three blocks away. Are we less important because we are not homeowners or paying market rent? It sure seems like it. If SFPD didn’t care about all those black lives lost, why would they care about my blue and green bikes that were stolen on camera? I guess we live on the wrong side of the tracks. We must break silence about the lack of compassion and urgency in SF public housing. We must care about our own black lives to protect and serve our community better by becoming the next generation of SFPD officers.

-Ms. D. Gigante