We grew up in the apartments right across the street. Ever since I can remember, my mom would take us here. We would read as many books as we could because my parents really valued education. My mother didn’t get to finish high school because the civil war in Somalia broke out. My dad’s the same. He did a little bit of college, but then he didn’t finish because he was trying to support us. They saw the library as a place where you could change your life because there are all these resources. This is where my mom filled out her taxes. She was also part of a learning circle where people got to share their stories. There was a guy named Mohammed who used to read Somali stories to us for story time.
In tenth grade I was taking an English class. I wasn’t the best writer and the teacher knew it. I was doing poorly and I felt so defeated. But then I came here and met with one of the Homework Help tutors and I was like, ‘I have this paper due next week and I really want to get a good grade on it.’ They sat and brainstormed ideas with me. When I typed up the paper, they helped me make it really concise and clear. I turned it in and the teacher was like, ‘This is one of the best papers I’ve ever read.’
By the time I was a junior, I was better at math and English so I decided I could help out as a Homework Help tutor for the freshman and middle school students who were struggling with the same things I’d struggled with. After school, I wasn’t part of any extracurricular activities, so tutoring was my extracurricular. It was a way of giving back and saying ‘This is what I benefitted from.’
I’m just so appreciative to this day, because if I didn’t come to Homework Help, I don’t think I would have learned the study habits that I needed. I was very full of pride; I didn’t want to ask for help. They made it okay for me to ask for help. Those are things I took with me when I went to college.
Aisha at Hennepin County Library — Sumner.