Hilario Gómez is from Aguascalientes, Mexico. He came to the United States in 1992 to succeed and accomplish his goals, but there was one obstacle. He did not speak a word of English. It was difficult to do anything, even to go to the store for a coke. As an accountant in Mexico, he was used to being confident in everything he did. Now he had to start at the beginning. He thought about it and he decided to take an English class. He started at the lowest level of English as a Second Language in Adult Basic Education at Santa Fe Community College. Within three years he moved up all the way into developmental English classes at SFCC! He even took a college level Italian class to improve his skills at the Italian restaurant where he was a chef and is now the manager. In 2011 Hilario came to Literacy Volunteers of Santa Fe to work on one more important goal: becoming a United States citizen. With the help of a lawyer, he paid his back taxes, got a green card, and became a permanent resident. He has studied with a volunteer tutor for the exam and is waiting for the right time to send in his application. Hilario is a great planner and has worked carefully and diligently on many goals. We are confident that he will not only pass the U.S. Citizenship exam, but he will also further his higher education and tie his various skills together to complete his American Dream. Hilario Gomez is a great example for other students of all that is possible through improved literacy!
Budu arrived in the United States in 2002 only to find that Maoist massacres in Nepal made it too dangerous for her and her husband, Uttam (ooh-tom), to return to their homeland where they had left behind their three children. As she anxiously awaited Visas for her kids to join her in New Mexico, Budu needed to be productive, but had never been to school and could not read nor write in any language. In 2003 a friend brought Budu to Literacy Volunteers of Santa Fe. With the help of dedicated tutors, Budu learned to read and write for the first time, and also to speak in English. She now boasts that she can read anything. In proof of this, last year Budu and Uttam studied for the Citizenship test with a tutor and passed. On May 13, 2011, they were proudly sworn in as U.S. citizens. Budu is now pursuing culinary classes at Santa Fe Community College in hopes of furthering her education.
Mauricio, Lorena and Jacinto’s Story
When Mauricio came to the United States from Mexico in 2002 with his wife Lorena, he did not speak one word of English. They were grateful to find jobs as horse caretakers on a ranch in New Mexico, but they were overwhelmed when new people would talk to them. They did not know any words in English and it was scary! They also felt lost when they had to read in English. Lorena remembers missing her children’s school conferences because she did not understand the papers that were sent home to her. She also felt very sad that she could not read her children’s homework or help them in any way with their education. On a nearby ranch, Jacinto was dealing with similar difficulties at his job. He was a terrific ranch caretaker, but could not read or communicate in English very much. His employers wanted him to learn English so he could improve his job. Like Mauricio and Lorena, Jacinto was isolated in his ranch work and did not have an opportunity to study English, but they all needed to do so for their survival. Finally, Lorena and Mauricio found Literacy Volunteers of Santa Fe and were matched with an enthusiastic tutor, Vicki McGuffy and introduced Jacinto to her also. Now all three are speaking English and getting closer to where they want to be!
Jesús, a basic literacy student at Literacy Volunteers of Santa Fe has been working with his literacy volunteer, Shelley Cohen, for the past two years and is now able to read to his 8 year old daughter for the first time. Here is what he says about his tutoring experience: “One day, I was picking up my daughter from school and I saw a sign on the window about a Literacy Volunteers of Santa Fe meeting. I went to the meeting and pretty soon I was hooked up with a tutor. That was approximately a year and a half ago. I have learned so much from my tutor and being dedicated to study and learn, I encourage anybody out there that needs help or that can offer help to go to Literacy Volunteers of Santa Fe. Now that I am more confident with my reading, my family and I like to read together. Sometimes I read to my daughter, other times she likes to read to me. Also, now that I can read better I love helping her with her homework. Sometimes she is stuck on a math problem that requires reading and once I read it to her she understands the problem and can find the answer. Not too long ago I couldn’t read out loud or write much in front of other persons or in a big crowd, but now I have more confidence and feel better about it. Recently, I sold a car to someone I did not know. When it was time to do the paperwork he asked me to help him because he did not know how to read or write, so I did. It made me think that just a year and a half back I was that guy.” Click here to listen to Jesús’ story: Click Here