Shirley East served in Nashville, Tennessee in 1992-1994

Alumni story
Shirley East 1992 1994 Nashville

In 1992, I was 57 years old and recently widowed. When I lost my husband I was depressed and didn't know what to do. Being able to help others in need gave me a reason to go on. Becoming a VISTA gave me a purpose in life.

I went to the Cohn Adult Learning Center to try to get myself ready to go to work. I was going to enroll in a program called Career Directions. I was told to go down the hall to talk to Sharon Hollaway, director of the Literacy program. After talking with Ms Hollaway, she let me become part of the literacy program. I was paired with another VISTA, Mary Fleming. We went together to churches, prisons, and businesses, all over Nashville. We tutored and did fundraising. 
My second year I went to three different schools, helping the teachers, working with the children and parents. I read to the children. One class I visited the children were mentally challenged, but they loved for me to read to them and they were very attentive.
Now I am 75 years old and as I look back eighteen years I thank God for the VISTA program, while helping others it also helped me. It is a wonderful program. 

Decade: 1990s