Immigrating to the United States without knowing English is a difficult process many people endure. Originally from Mexico, Guadalupe came to the United States in hopes for a better life and the opportunity to succeed. Although her journey was not easy, Manos de Cristo helped provide her with the resources to acclimate to a new life and to achieve her dreams.
Guadalupe was one of the first students to attended English as a Second Language (ESL) class at Manos’ new, off-site satellite location at Covenant Presbyterian Church. She enrolled in Level 4 ESL class, the highest-level course offered, because she wanted to improve her grammar and practice conversational English in a fun, interactive setting.
Guadalupe had attended several other programs that provided similar courses, but she never felt at home or a part of a community until she came to Manos de Cristo.
“I think the best thing about this program is that we are in small groups and we have two teachers,” said Guadalupe. “The teachers I use to have at other programs didn’t seem to care…teachers at Manos care, they really care!”
Elizabeth Marks has been one of Manos’ Level 4 ESL teachers since October after hearing about the teaching opportunity through AmeriCorps. She loves being able to witness the successes of her students.
“I love teaching classes, I love the students and I love the staff,” said Marks. “[Teaching is] very satisfying and you just know you’re doing something that’s benefiting someone else.”
Marks said one of the biggest struggles most of her students face is with the past tense and how to apply it, however, they work through it.
“Learning English isn’t the easiest thing,” said Marks. “But [the students] apply themselves and work hard.”
Guadalupe has worked tirelessly in her ESL class and plans to use the skills she has learned to help find a better job. She wants to work in a hospital as a nurse and provide translation assistance for both clients and staff some day in the near future. And now with the skills she has learned from Manos, she is one step closer to her dream.
Guadalupe completed her Level 4 studies in May and plans to continue improving her new found skills with a more advanced class this fall. She wants to remain connected with the organization that has provided her with not only valuable, lifelong skills, but a community.
By John Paul Napleton, Erin Dunkin, and Nikki Dulay
Contributing Writers from Texas Tower PR