Laura Mendoza moved to the U.S. when she was 25 to escape the dangers of living in Mexico in hope of finding a better life. When she arrived in California she realized that many people already spoke Spanish, but she says, “I like to learn and since I came here, I felt I had to learn the language. I also have my son who is four years old. I want to help prepare him for school and I want to be a part of his education, but how can I help him if I am not good at reading or writing in English?”
Laura enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes with us and completed the program when she was able to comfortably and confidently speak English. She was finally ready to work on the next items on her list: reading and writing!
She was having trouble getting help at home, “My mom and my partner do not speak English so it is hard for me to learn. I can understand a lot, but I don’t have someone there to practice.” This brought Laura to our Adult Literacy program where she is now able to have one-on-one reading and writing tutoring after completing goals in her ESL classes, “I think to me it is easier to learn to read because of learning to speak English. They taught us to learn the alphabet first and that has helped me to learn to read.”
“Someone told me that if you don’t try, you will never learn…maybe you are going to make mistakes, but you are going to learn.”
– Laura Mendoza
Laura explained why reading in English is so important to her, “I can go to anyplace and maybe you can talk in English, but what if you have to read something or sign something? It is important to know what you are signing or what you are reading. When my son goes to school, sometimes I have to sign forms for the school. Whenever I go to my doctor or apply for a job, it has to be done in English. Whenever I fill out a form, I always ask for English so I can practice more at reading and writing.”
Laura knows that life will be a bit different for her son, “He’s growing up and he is going to learn and speak in English and I want to help him when he goes to school. A lot of people in my area have kids who don’t want to speak Spanish when their parents don’t know English. It’s sad because how are parents going to be involved in their child’s lives? How can they understand or help them if they need help? I want to be there for my son. If he needs me, I will be there.”
As she works on her literacy journey Laura says, “I hope that by continuing the tutoring I can improve more and get an even better job. I have become more confident in asking for help if I ever don’t understand anything. At first, when I tried to speak, I felt ashamed because I thought that people were making fun of me, but someone told me that if you don’t try, you will never learn…maybe you are going to make mistakes, but you are going to learn.”