by Derek Evans
Everyone has stories—it's just that some are compelling enough to write a book about.
Susan Enholm, who taught in the LEARN (Literacy, Education and Resource Network) Program at Pima County Adult Probation, decided to self-publish a book about her students' life experiences titled A Snowball's Chance.
At Pima County Adult Probation, many of the students were high school dropouts or had felony records—or both. The LEARN program was a chance for those students to eventually earn a GED.
Enholm hoped that publishing these stories might help save other people ,who were also going through some of the same hard times. She took some of her students and ask them questions about their history of drug use, legal troubles and so on.
Enholm said that while most of the students were willing to use their real name, some wished to go by another name for privacy concerns.
"I wanted a mixed group and I wanted different ethnic backgrounds—female and male, different races," Enholm said. "I didn't get the mix as I would have if I had 12 (stories), but I couldn't keep going on because I didn't know what I was doing with this, so that's why I stopped at eight."
Enholm said that a lot of her students' problems came from parents who had engaged in drug use and other behaviors.
While some of the students went on to Pima Community College, not all have made that leap, for various reasons. In one case, Enholm heard back from a student that he didn't know how to go to college because no one in his family had ever gone before.
Ultimately, the students' futures are left in their hands.
"You try hard," Enholm says, "but in the end it's up to them."