Found in Translation

Guadalupe in the Covenant classroom.

Guadalupe in the Covenant classroom.

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.”

Carol Sheppard (Left) and Linda Rutherford (Right) level 4 ESL teachers at Covenant.

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


Celebrating Success


By Erin Duncan, Texas Tower PR Volunteer

Adult students in the Manos de Cristo beginner and intermediate computer class graduated last week after their eight week session of classes. Graduations were highlighted with the awarding of certificates then a drawing for a laptop computer and flash drives.

computer studentGraciella, a beginning computer student won the laptop giving her the ability to continue practicing her new skills at home. After the raffle, the teachers and students celebrated the semester with refreshments and one another’s company.

Another computer student, Cornelius has been with Manos since 2013. He decided to retake the beginning class with the goal of becoming an expert before moving to the intermediate level. After having a stroke in 2005, he was confined to a wheelchair and needed assistance with everyday routine tasks.

I’ve come a long way and I am getting stronger each day,

Now Cornelius is typing words quickly on a computer and has earned six certificates from Manos for attending classes.

Manos offers 8-week computer courses for individuals with little to no prior computer experience. Classes are bilingual (English/Spanish) when bilingual instructors are available. Course topics include computer basics, word processing, Internet navigation, e-mail, and the use of spreadsheets

For more information about computer classes at Manos de Cristo, visit: