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Libraries put degrees – and dreams – within reach


Patrick Stewart, CEO of the Library Foundation

Lifelong Learning | WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT


Libraries are changing lives. Thanks to your Library Foundation support, our Libraries help San Diegans learn new skills so they can pursue and achieve their dreams.

Recently, 36 adults walked across the Neil Morgan Auditorium stage in front of their family and friends to finally earn the high school diploma they had dreamed about. Thanks to the Library’s Career Online High School, they had the support and resources they needed to earn their diplomas.

“For so long I felt discouraged, and that finishing my high school diploma was only a dream,” said graduate Alejandra Viera. “Never doubt yourselves. You are capable of anything, and it is never too late to go after your dreams.” Alejandra is now enrolled in Southwest College, working toward her goal of opening a restaurant.

In Career Online High School, adult learners earn a nationally accredited high school diploma while preparing for one of eight high-demand careers. The program launched in 2015 with Library Foundation support, and scholarships funded by donors like you keep it going.

Fifteen percent of San Diegans over the age of 25 don’t have a high school diploma. Unemployment for this group is double the rate of those with diplomas. Since 2015, 118 adults have graduated from Career Online High School, and many graduates have moved on to college and found opportunities for their career advancement.

Amina Muday (pictured above with her diploma) grew up in Somalia during the civil war and never had a formal education. “By the grace of God, I arrived in the USA,” she said. “I knew I had the opportunity to have some part of the American dream. . .I never gave up my commitment to get the education I have dreamed of.”

At her graduation, Amina said proudly, “Today, I complete part of my journey by earning a high school diploma. I will not stop until I complete my college degree in the field of international relations.” She hopes to help refugees because, as she said, “I am one of them.” You can watch Amina and Alejandra’s graduation speeches below.


In 2022, the Library Foundation will celebrate 20 years of building community and sparking innovation. The impact detailed in this post is possible because you share our commitment to strengthening communities.

In their graduation remarks, Alejandra and Amina thanked Library Foundation donors for making their success possible.

I join them in extending my own gratitude for your support and ask you to lead us into our 20th anniversary year with a tax-deductible gift by year-end. Your gift by 12/31 will be matched for 2x the impact thanks to a $100,000 challenge match by the Lily Lai Foundation and will lead us into our 20th anniversary year better prepared to make dreams like Alejandra’s and Amina’s achievable for more San Diegans. Thank you.Thank you.