The Power of a Story: Vivian’s Day at DC City Council


By Yvette Scorse, Communications Associate

Vivian MercerIn the past couple months, we’ve participated in six hearings in front of D.C. City Council. At each hearing, our students have been next to us. At each hearing, our students stood up to tell City Council members how they had received more than a free computer class; they had received the opportunity to build a better life.

Stories from our students are always touching to us as Byte Back staff, but there is a special reward that comes when we see how powerful these stories can be to others. At her testimony March 10, our student Vivian Mercer found out just how powerful her story could be.

Vivian, an Internet and Computing Core Certification (IC3) student, testified during the hearing reviewing DC Public Libraries funding. At first, she was somewhat reluctant to testify, inclined to spend her time on her job search, but she showed up that morning ready to share her experience with the council members.

Her genuine appreciation shined through, as she said, “[Byte Back] has restored the faith and confidence I need to keep me going at this particular time in my life.”

The “time” she was talking about has been a period of about six months without a job. “Being unemployed is not a good position to be in. It is one step away from being homeless,” she expressed in her written testimony.

“I’m capable of working and would be glad to start tomorrow, if given the opportunity,” Vivian said. She told the council that Byte Back “lives up to its name – it gives back by restoring confidence in a class of people who may otherwise give up.”

Vivian’s determination not to give up paid off that day. As she left the hearing, a man caught up with her. He had heard her speech and was impressed with her new computer skills. He asked her for her contact information because he wanted to offer Vivian a job!


Thanks to Our Students Who Testified

A special “Thank You!” to all the students who testified in person or in writing at the oversight hearings! Your heartfelt stories strongly demonstrated that the funding Byte Back receives from D.C. government agencies is well spent. You make our community stronger by giving back!

Special thanks to these students:

Edward Gadson

Jeffrey Rothschild

Latanya Johnson

Lisa Redmond

Linda Gross

Vivian Mercer

Donna Burke

Patrice A. Butler

Melvern Reid

Ruth Paige

Lakeisha Wood

Joan Riggins

Linda V. Tavitas

Debbie Turner


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