Marielena Huerta is a tutor who is also serving as an AmeriCorps member through the Literacy Center's Family Literacy program. Her parents were originally from Mexico, so she understands the challenges adults face as they learn English. Marielena attended college at Aquinas, where she majored in Community Leadership and Interpretation.
As a daughter of immigrant parents, Marielena brings a unique perspective to her tutoring and teaching English classes. She understands the daily struggles that learners have to go through, and what lessons are important to address. With her tutoring and in classes, Marielena is able to relate to her learners on a deeper level.
Marielena first heard about the Literacy Center through a posting for a childcare worker with the Family Literacy program. After spending a year in this position, she decided to try the AmeriCorps experience and become an instructor with the program. As an AmeriCorps Instructor, Marielena also had the opportunity to work one-on-one with a learner. In October of 2018, she was matched with her learner, Leticia.
Tell me a bit about your learner. How has your experience been working with her?
"Working with Leticia has been very interesting. Leticia is originally from Mexico, just like my parents. I have been able to talk to her about some of their experiences and vice versa. Leticia is an amazing woman who now relies on her family so much because of her English level. She helps her daughter raise her children at home, but when she is tutoring she can focus on what she needs to learn."
What is your favorite story or moment with your learner?
"There is a story that Leticia told me – about how she helped pass the torch when the Olympics were in Mexico in the late 60s. To me, this is such an amazing story, rich in history and culture. It was something that I didn’t know about before she told me. My parents were living in Mexico back then, and I was able to talk to them about it, too."
How has tutoring impacted your own life?
"It has opened my eyes to others in the community, like Leticia, who have amazing stories to share with others, but at times the inability to share these stories."
What would you say to somebody who is considering tutoring?
"To definitely do it – you can learn so much about another person and their experiences. Also, it is a good way to help someone in your community."
If you're interested in becoming a Literacy Center tutor like Marielena, sign up to attend a brief volunteer orientation online or call (616) 459-5151.