News & Blog: Learner Stories


Written by Sara Miller, ATP Coordinator

For many, 2020 was a year of adaptation. For Lorena, it was no different. Unable to meet in person with her tutor, Steff, the pair turned to meeting virtually. But that came with its own challenges; Lorena had rarely used a computer until now. Although she was reluctant, she knew that in order to keep meeting she would have to do her best. Over the next few months they tackled the basics and mastered Zoom meetings together. One major challenge remained: email. 

Lorena came to the United Stated from Mexico over two decades ago and joined the Literacy Center family in 2018. She kept in touch with everyone she knew by phone. Although she had an email account, Lorena had rarely checked it and never sent emails. It’s a daily task for many, but for Lorena it seemed a formidable chore. She still felt uncomfortable using computers and her lack of experience made her anxious. Steff encouraged her to try, though, and so Lorena began to learn a new skill. They practiced between themselves until Lorena was ready to move past practice and send an email to someone new. She decided to write to her coordinator at the Literacy Center with a question about an upcoming test. It was a perfectly normal email. For Lorena, however, it was much more than that; it represented hard work, courage, and dedication. Then, she got a reply! “I was happy it worked!” she said, “It was not difficult like I thought.” She had been hesitant, but she had succeeded on her first try. 

Lorena is becoming more and more comfortable with emailing. She now uses her new skill to keep in touch with family and connect with her congregation. With plans to apply for citizenship this year, email will also be important for communicating with her lawyers. For others considering learning a new skill, Lorena has this advice, “Be patient and try. If you want to, you can!” 

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