Hi, my name is Jorge. I am from Mexico. This story is about not having enough money and tough decisions. When I was a child I was fighting with my mom every morning because she wanted me to go to school, and I did not want to. It was not because I did not like the school, but because I did not have any money. Almost every morning I had to go without breakfast, and without money to buy something to eat at school.
George, an English language learner at our Open Door Learning Center-Lake Street, has logged more than 100 distance learning hours outside of class time. His commitment to learning qualifies him for a free home computer, thanks to our partnership with PCs for People.
Yet when we shared this news with George, he thought not of himself but of other classmates who might need it more. Those with school-aged children who need a computer to do their homework. Those looking for a job, writing their resumes or prepping for the GED test.
Halina, 32, began attending classes at Open Door Learning Center on St. Paul's East Side after arriving from Belarus.
As a first-grader learning English, Miguel was scared to talk or raise his hand when his Summer Reads program started. As June turned into July, Miguel started to play games, talk about his favorite books, and he even wrote his own story and read it to the entire class. By August, Miguel was a confident, enthusiastic student.
Xai had few opportunities to work or study in the refugee camps where he grew up. When he came to Minnesota, he was determined to do both, and he succeeded. He studied English with us and went on to receive his employer's first ever perfect annual review score.
Adhel and her twin children, Emanuael and Patience, came to Minnesota from Sudan. Adhel was so thankful that they could attend preschool while she studied English right down the hall. The kids wowed everyone – including their mother – when they showed off their knowledge of letters and numbers at a reunion. They entered kindergarten ready to learn!
Two years ago, Omar didn't know enough English to fill out a job application. Now, thanks to English classes he attends right in his neighborhood, he has a full-time job and can support his family. But he's not stopping there. Omar is working toward his GED so he can one day study to become a certified nursing assistant.
Many of the families in Rachel's neighborhood – including her own – have faced setbacks. After just a few days of attending last year's Summer Reads program as a third grader, Rachel relaxed into the fun, safe and encouraging environment, and she became a supportive role model to her classmates.
After missing every word on his spelling test in English class, Alvaro turned to his four sons – ages 6, 10, 11 and 12 – for help. With their studying tips, Alvaro improved his next spelling test score. He dreams of the day he can return the favor and help with their homework, but for now he is thankful they have become such great teachers.
When I entered the United States for the first time, there were so many things that really astonished me. Since it was my first time, I was anxious to become accustomed to things and situations here.
The first thing that surprised me happened when I took a walk around the place where I live. When a white man greeted me saying, “Hi!” with a warm smile, I replied “Hi!” but immediately looked back and tried to recall where and when I had met him before.