DCLC Profile: DaVeda Graham Brings Focus on Community & Learning to DCLC Board

DaVeda Graham, DCLC Board Member

by Sally Sapega

DaVeda Graham, a nurse practitioner who lives in Drexel Hill, recently joined the Board of Directors of Delaware County Literacy Council (DCLC). DaVeda brings a wealth of experience in healthcare and community-building to the role.

DaVeda explains why serving on DCLC’s Board seemed like a good fit: “I’m big on educating, especially in health literacy. If you’re not literate, it’s difficult to advocate for yourself or be involved with your care. DCLC is about empowerment and helping people change their lives for a better future.”

DaVeda adds, “Also, when my mom was younger, she worked at LaSalle University, running the GED programs. And I want to help further that.”

DaVeda has been a nurse for thirteen years and a nurse practitioner for the last six years. She calls nursing “a fortunate detour” in her life.

“I went to Philadelphia High School for girls and wanted to become a doctor, but I became a mom early. Twenty five years ago it was hard to be empowered when you were a single mom. Looking back, though, this turned out to be a fortunate detour for me. Nursing still kept me in the sciences and allowed me to help patients. This was exactly the path I needed to take.”

As a nurse practitioner, with formal training in primary care and public health, DaVeda is passionate about providing care for underserved populations and bridging gaps found in today’s healthcare environment.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, she saw these gaps both in Philadelphia and Delaware County. As a result of her experiences, DaVeda started Nurses United for Change and Equity, a nonprofit that focuses on disparities in healthcare, with an initial emphasis on providing COVID-19 vaccines to those in Delaware County who may not have had easy access to them.

Her first step was to get authorization as a COVID-19 vaccination provider. Next, she organized vaccination clinics at a variety of locations, including a firehouse in Drexel Hill, the Folcroft municipal building, nursing homes, and Chester High School’s football and basketball games. She is excited at the prospect of seeing her nonprofit grow and expand its reach.

DaVeda is also excited about being involved with DCLC and its mission of helping adults develop reading, writing, math and English language skills to thrive in the workplace and the community. “I have so many ideas!” says DaVeda. “I thought about having career days, showing people how to dress, how to get their resumes prepared. We could do mock interviews and talk to them about how to communicate effectively. It’s a life skill that will stay with them for the course of their careers. I’d like to become a mentor to people who have similar backgrounds to me, give them encouragement and help them get through barriers that I didn’t know about when I was younger.”

Clearly, DaVeda Graham has the drive, the empathy, and the skills to have a big impact on DCLC and its students. We welcome her to DCLC’s Board of Directors.

You also may be interested in these stories from February/March 2022 DCLC News & Notes.

DCLC Offers Free Employment Services and Digital Literacy to Community Members
Trauma-Informed Practices Help Adult Learners Succeed

Trauma-Informed Practices Help Adult Learners Succeed

According to a recent World Education blog post, “Perhaps now more than ever, adult educators are paying attention to the impact that personal and community trauma has on adult learners’ ability to learn and pursue their goals.”

COVID-19 was a collective trauma we all experienced in the last two years—a trauma felt even more acutely by adult literacy students. As the blog post states, “Those most affected by the devastation of the pandemic are disproportionately people of color and immigrants, especially those who are women. When these adults are our students, using trauma-informed practices will increase their opportunities to learn and pursue their education and career goals. Using trauma-informed practices is an integral part of enacting our values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Case Manager Wazhma Pal helps DCLC students overcome barriers to learning, which sometimes involves guiding them to resources that can address the traumas they have experienced.

“Attending classes online, managing work and family at the same time can be a real challenge for adult students,” says Wazhma. “Sometimes they struggle to find housing, which is definitely traumatic. For immigrant students, there is the trauma of adjusting to a new country with minimal to no language skills. As the DCLC case manager, I help students connect with organizations that provide services they need. Acknowledging the difficulties in a student’s life also helps them take steps to get help and recognize their own strength.”

With the help of DCLC’s Case Manager Wazhma Pal, DCLC provides literacy instruction that welcomes adult students as individuals who bring their own experiences and challenges to their studies.

You also may be interested in these stories from February/March 2022 DCLC News & Notes.

DCLC Profile: DaVeda Graham Brings Focus on Community Learning to DCLC Board
DCLC Offers Free Employment Services and Digital Literacy to Community Members

DCLC News: DCLC Offers Free Employment Services & Digital Literacy to Community Members

Employment Coach and participant
Employment Coach Wilma Guzman-Perez (right) of the Immigrant Employment Program reviews job opportunities with Olouchegoun “Champs” Linkpon (left).

Instruction is just the beginning. Sure, local adults come to Delaware County Literacy Council (DCLC) to study for their GED or to learn English if they are from another country, but DCLC also offers some free programs that may be less familiar to county residents.

In conjunction with the Delaware County Workforce Investment Board, DCLC offers these free programs that help increase the literacy and employability of our entire county.

Back to Work provides free job-search help to Delaware County residents age 40 and over who have received Unemployment Compensation in the last year. Employment Coach Elaine Herbert guides participants through all steps of the job search, helping them find jobs that match their skills. Put her expertise in salary negotiations and career trends to work for you. Get started by completing an interest form.

Immigrant Employment offers free job-search help to immigrants living in Delaware County. DCLC employment coaches can help you look for jobs, complete applications, create a resume, prepare for interviews, and more. Some translation services are available. Get started by completing an interest form.

Digital Literacy Classes provide structured small-group classes to help Delaware County residents learn and practice basic computer skills. These classes are offered at Upper Darby libraries, at DCLC’s building in Chester, and at the Career Link in Chester. Please call the location where you’d like to attend to learn more and register.

  • PA Career Link in Chester, Monday mornings, 610-447-3350
  • Upper Darby Municipal Library, Tuesday mornings, 610-734-7649
  • Upper Darby Sellers Library, Wednesday afternoons, 610-789-4400
  • Upper Darby Primos Library, Thursday mornings, 610-622-8091
  • Delaware County Literacy Council, Friday mornings, 610-876-4811

You also may be interested in these stories from February/March 2022 DCLC News & Notes.

DCLC Profile: DaVeda Graham Brings Focus on Community Learning to DCLC Board
Trauma-Informed Practices Help Adult Learners Succeed