News & Blog: Learner Stories


Written by Maria Bacerra, a learner in our Adult Tutoring Program, for our Winter 2018 edition of The Reader

My name is Maria. I’m from Mexico and I came to U.S.A. when I was 19 years old. At that time I had only been married for 1 week.

My dream was to have a family. When I came to the U.S.A. it was so hard for me because everything was new; new people, new country, different traditions and everything new. I missed a lot my family and friends. The time was passing and I accustomed through the years.

I was living in California, there were a lot of Hispanic people anywhere so it made it easier to get used to living there. Anywhere people speak Spanish. I worked on the field but after I became pregnant with my first baby girl I stopped working.

One year later I had my second baby boy and through the years I had my third baby girl. I could not be working anymore because it was so expensive to pay a baby sitter for 3 kids so I was a housewife and when my youngest daughter was 3 years old again I started working.

After 3 years my job was done so I started studying to take my U.S. Citizenship test and at the same time I signed up in Citizenship Booksan Adult School to get my G.E.D. At that time I was so worried because after 14 years that I left my High School in my country I tried to pass all my tests in California. I forgot many things that I learned before, so I got a G.E.D. book from the library and I started to study a little bit only Math, and in only 1 month I got my G.E.D.

Thanks God I got my G.E.D. diploma and in a short time later I passed my Citizenship test, answering all the questions correctly.

On 1998 my husband came to Grand Rapids to visit my brother who was living here. My husband liked it here and he didn’t go back to California.

On 1999 my kids and I came to Grand Rapids and we saw better opportunities to live here than California. California is beautiful weather but very expensive life. My husband and I were working hard and when we had 1 year of living here we bought our first home and 3 years later my youngest child was born. But not all is sweet, we had some economic problems and we lost our house.

Now we have another house. When we bought it it was old and ugly. I like this one more because it is remodeled to my taste, I chose every color and the way how it was rebuilt. The person who repaired it took down all the walls and built the rooms as I asked. My house was spectacular! But as everything has its sacrifice and nothing is easy I had too many debts with my family, I got a loan at my job and I saturated all my credit cards.

Little by little I’m paying my debts. I’m so happy because I have my family and my house. I feel very grateful with God for all that it has given me.

My experience in my life is that if you want something, you can do it. Nothing is easy. I have been working so hard to have all that I have. I’ve been working two jobs for many years now.

To work a lot is the reason which I did not have time to go to school but one day one of my friends talked to me about the Literacy Center and I went to it and asked for help. My goal in my life is one day to speak and understand 100 per cent English.

Thanks to Literacy Center, my first tutor Airie who was teaching me for a short time and my current teacher Monica who started helping me on July of this year. Monica is a very good tutor and excellent person. Thanks to her I have improved my second language English.

Thank you Literacy Center and Monice for your great help!

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