Literacy Council of Buncombe County: Kimberly Thomas


By Lily Contorer


The Literacy Council of Buncombe County teaches adults and children basic reading, writing, math, and English language skills through individual and small group instruction by trained volunteers. Students gain self-confidence and develop self-sufficiency to transform their lives as individuals, parents, workers, and citizens. The Literacy Council, a non-profit organization accredited by ProLiteracy America and serving the community since 1987, provides highly individualized tutoring to fit the needs of over 300 students in three core programs – Adult Education, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and the Augustine Project. This profile of student, Kimberly Thomas, is another in a series of inspiring stories about those whose lives The Literacy Council has improved.


Kimberly Thomas

Kimberly Thomas

Kimberly never found school particularly difficult. She got A’s B’s and some C’s in all her subjects. She attended high school at Asheville High and finished the eleventh grade before she left because of life struggles. She says “I had some bad influences socially which led me to make poor decisions.” Academics were never the problem. Still, she left without her diploma.


When she came to the Literacy Council of Buncombe County, Kimberly had been attending a GED class at AB-Tech Community College and had passed the science portion of the test. Her instructor suspected that Kimberly could use some one-on-one tutoring in order to receive her GED by the end of 2013.


Kimberly had a few goals. She wanted to earn her GED so that she could continue her education, get a job in the medical field, and leave public assistance.


Without a GED, Kimberly was limited. She could only get certain jobs that paid very little. This meant that she couldn’t achieve her dream of working in the medical field and create a better life for her son and herself. She imagined that one day she would be able to buy a home and provide her son with better opportunities. But that wouldn’t happen without a GED.


Fast forward six months.


We are happy to report that Kimberly is one step closer to making her dreams come true. On December 16th, 2013, Kimberly earned her GED! She says, “I received it in the mail and after opening the envelope, I started crying and smiling at the same time. My mom was there and some other family members too. Mom and Dad said they were really proud of me.” In May, she will walk across the stage and graduate. Kimberly says, “I feel very proud of myself. I can now go on to further my education and pursue a career in the medical field. My life is back on track and I’ve grown so much as a person in so many ways. I’m gonna continue to set goals for myself and now I know that I can achieve them.”


Kimberly wants to thank her tutor, Sue Myers, for being kind and patient with her. “She encouraged me when I doubted myself. I also want to thank the instructors at AB Tech for believing in me as well.” She also wants to thank her family for helping her stay determined and for believing that she could pass the GED test.


Kimberly says, “For anyone who might get discouraged, have faith in yourself. You can do it! Don’t give up!”



To learn more about becoming a student or a volunteer tutor with the Literacy Council of Buncombe County, please visit or email Lily Contorer at You can also call Lily at 828-254-3442 x202 to learn more.

Sandi Tomlin-Sutker
Written by Sandi Tomlin-Sutker