OUR LEARNER SPOTLIGHT: Dorrie Miller Abdul Rahim, 53, BeLit Learner

Dorrie grew up in North Philadelphia with her siblings and many cousins. She enjoyed being part of a large family, surrounded by love from her mother, grandmother, and aunt. When attending school, however, Dorrie often felt discouraged and particularly struggled with reading comprehension. In spite of working hard in her classes and participating in sports, she found herself being bullied by her peers and falling behind academically. Once Dorrie reached high school, she lost her motivation to learn and eventually stopped attending.

Shortly thereafter, Dorrie started experimenting with drugs and began a long, difficult journey through addiction. She was eventually arrested. After her release a year later, she started attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Feeling hopeful and grateful for a fresh start, she married, moved into a new home, and welcomed her first of two sons. She made ends meet by working in housekeeping and home health care until she tore her rotator cuff on the job and was unable to continue working.

Her two sons are now grown and active in the Navy and Air Force. With an empty nest at home, Dorrie decided to invest in her education. In 2018, she began taking classes to earn her GED at our North Philadelphia center. She immediately felt empowered by her community of teachers and peers. While she excelled in math, she struggled with other subjects. When her teacher, Miss Lindsay, noticed Dorrie’s reading challenges, she shared her history of comprehension obstacles from her childhood. Specializing in teaching foundational reading skills, Miss Lindsay began to work one-on-one with her. “She is a big part of my education,” Dorrie said. “God sent her into my life.”

Dorrie also connected with members of BeLit’s Student Support Team. When she felt down or tempted to stop attending classes, Coach Kieran would call to check in on her. Touched by so many caring and supportive educators, Dorrie stayed on track and currently attends Science class with Ms. Joanne Believing in herself to overcome all obstacles, Dorrie now encourages her classmates telling them, “Keep on striving. No matter how hard, never give up on yourself.” 

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