Faces of Success: Lakisha Fletcher
It’s complicated; that’s sometimes the best way to describe relationships between siblings. A sibling bond can run the gamut of emotions and also is defined by any number of adjectives. Timothy and Lyric Chatman’s relationship illustrates competitiveness, especially when it comes to educational success.
“They both have a passion for reading and books. I think they feed off of each other and they know how important education is to me,” said Timothy and Lyric’s mother, Lakisha Fletcher. Timothy and Lyric’s passion for reading can be traced back to their enrollment in United Way’s Read to Succeed program at Fannie Battle Day Home for Children.
”I registered Timothy when he was 3 years old and Lyric when she was just 18 months,” said Fletcher. “Fannie Battle Day Home for Children is an excellent childcare provider and so much more. Being an overprotective parent, it’s the only organization that I have ever dealt with in Nashville.”
Timothy is now in ninth grade, while Lyric is a fifth-grader. Fletcher never could have imagined that her decision to enroll her children in the Read to Succeed program—a comprehensive United Way early literacy program that provides at-risk children with the basic reading readiness skills to prepare them for future educational success – would also profoundly impact her own education.
“They are both honor roll students and have excelled throughout their schooling,” she said. “To see them push each other in school made me want to go back and continue my education so that they see me as an example.” Fletcher already had her associate degree. She decided to attend Lipscomb University in 2009 and spent the next three years working toward a bachelor’s degree in social work.
“Being a single parent is a struggle,” she said. “My day usually started at 5:00 a.m.; I had a regular full-time job and then attended classes on both Tuesday and Thursday nights.”
She worked tirelessly to balance those responsibilities, as well as the full-time job of raising Timothy and Lyric by herself.
“There were several times where I felt like giving up. All I could think about was my children and knowing that I wanted them to go far in life,” Fletcher said.
The overwhelming journey was well worth it. Fletcher graduated from Lipscomb University in 2012 and remembers what it was like to celebrate that moment with her two biggest supporters.
“They saw me walk across the stage and receive my degree. That will serve them well when they begin to think about college and advancing their education.”
Lakisha Fletcher’s story demonstrates that anything is possible with a strong education. United Way’s Read to Succeed program builds and strengthens educational foundations. The program offers highly qualified instructional coaches; research-based curricula; parental engagement and lending libraries. These elements contribute to the educational gains of Read to Succeed graduates that extend beyond their time in the program. Read to Succeed currently has a 97 percent success rate among the test group of students.
United Way’s Read to Succeed program has solidified the educational foundations of more than 12,000 children since the program began in 2004. There’s nothing complicated about understanding the connection between the Read to Succeed program and the future educational success of children in the Nashville community. Just ask Fletcher and her children. She’s now working for the State of Tennessee and has earned enough money to buy her family a home. Fletcher never imagined that this outcome was even possible as a single parent.