At just 17 years old, Gloria moved to the United States from Mexico, knowing only a few words of English, to be with her sister. “At first, it was really hard and very frustrating”, Gloria admits. “Because you try to say something and nobody understands you. They speak to you, but you don’t know what they say”.
In sharing these frustrations with some new friends, one recommended that Gloria check out Literacy Volunteers. “She said she was doing a really good job here. She felt accomplished and proud, and I wanted that”.
Now, Gloria is at LVGH several days a week. “I try to take as many classes as I can- ESOL, the book club- I have free time right now so I’m trying to make the most of it”. When asked why, even now that her English is quite good, Gloria keeps taking classes, she says, “Well, because every time I learn something new! It helps me to pronounce better, to read and write better. You not only learn the second language, you learn about different cultures from different people in class. So that’s why I’m continuing to come. I’m very interested in it”.
Eighteen years later, with the firsthand knowledge of what it’s like to be a nervous newcomer to the U.S., Gloria is enjoying the ability to pay it forward. “Because I was in that situation and I know it is very frustrating, I’m more than happy if I can do something for somebody else. At the store, at the DMV…if I see someone struggling, someone that does not understand, I can ask if they need help. Some people like it, some do not, it depends on the situation. But I don’t mind. Why not help if I can?”