“Guadalupe felt trapped and feared every moment she talked to someone in English.”

Guadalupe's Triumph

Mon, Jul 08, 2013 - By Grail Family Services

Guadalupe, mother of a 10- and 5-year-old, began attending the ESL classes two years ago as part of the Family Empowerment Program at GFS. When she began, she was not confident speaking in English. During parent-child conferences at school and during doctor’s appointments, her husband and her children always had to translate for her. She felt bad every time she had to ask others, and especially her children, to speak on her behalf. Many times, she would not answer the phone at home scared that she would not be able to understand or respond to the person on the other line. Guadalupe felt trapped and feared every moment she talked to someone in English. Through the ESL Classes, she built a sense of community with the rest of her classmates, improved in the English language, and is motivated to build a strong future for her family and herself.

As part of the ESL Classes Guadalupe has become more confident speaking in English, while also allowing her to network with other people who have had experiences similar to hers. The sense of community created within the classroom has allowed her to become encouraged to learn more about American culture, to set goals for her future, and to become more involved in her children’s school. Guadalupe now feels more prepared every time she has to go to a parent-child conference, and feels proud that she can understand and respond. She hopes to keep learning and practicing, so that she can work in an office where she can continue to meet more people and also help people like her, that are silenced by their inability to speak English.

Guadalupe expressed that the combination of the different approaches to learning English offered at GFS really helped her feel confident because it provided her with different approaches to learning English. Guadalupe’s sense of confidence was very evident when she did opening remarks, in English at this year’s Santa Clara County Children’s Summit speaking about the importance of parent engagement in their children’s education. Guadalupe recently graduated from the ESL program along with her 5-year-old son from the Family Empowerment Program and will continue her education at Overfelt Adult Education Center.

From SVCF grantee Grail Family Services (www.grailfamilyservices.org). Grail Family Services (GFS) is a non-profit organization that fosters learning and the empowerment of vulnerable families with young children through programs that educate, develop leadership skills, and build a sense of community.