Eliana started classes at the Literacy Center in January of 2018. She had come with her family from Venezuela, and she started classes with her in-laws, Larry and Coromoto. She worked hard and made rapid progress, graduating from the highest levels of our programming by the end of September that year. I recently called and had the opportunity to check in with her.
When you see someone frequently, you don’t always notice gradual changes. It had been over a year since I’d spoken with Eliana though, and the continued improvement in her English vocabulary and pronunciation was remarkable. I asked her what she’d been doing to improve so much, and she said that she shares time with American people – talking, eating, and watching movies. “I get involved in the culture and language.”
In her home country, Eliana was certified as a doula, providing support to pregnant women during and after delivery. She wanted to continue that work here in her new community. Before she graduated from the Literacy Center, we put her in touch with K-Connect and their Doulas of Color Strategy Team. Since then, she has been working on the team to move the long-term project forward.
Eliana also started teaching Spanish at a local school last July. With all this involvement, she is noticing differences in herself: “My brain is changing. The other day I dreamed in English!”
Eliana is a very social person, so it’s been challenging for her to stay at home during this time of social distancing. She observes the positives, though. She has done various online activities and has been able to continue to connect with others. On her recent birthday, she celebrated with calls with friends, and enjoyed drinks and Venezuelan arepas.
Eliana notes with appreciation that a lot of people want to help and share their abilities during this time. She looks forward to continuing to improve her English and being involved in the community.