A Full Circle Story

Hi, my name is Zurilma Anuel. I’m from Venezuela, a proud mother of two beautiful girls, and engaged to a wonderful man. I moved to the USA in 1998. 

My oldest daughter was born in Venezuela when I was 21 years old. Soon after her birth, she was diagnosed with spina bifida. Doctors didn’t think that she was going to be able to walk. Of course, I wanted more for her. She needed the best medical care possible, and I thought I could get better medical care in the United States. Because of that, my daughter and I moved to Asheville, NC, when she was two. I could have said that this was “My American Dream,” but I never knew about this phrase until a few years later. I made this decision without overthinking it. I realized that this was my purpose in life; I was put on this earth to love, help, and support my daughter.  

 Over time, I was able to find access to the medical resources needed for my daughter, but at the same time, things were getting more complicated, and I faced more challenges:

I did not speak English – I couldn’t communicate with the doctors to explain what was needed. I knew the interpreters were not telling the story as I could. Doctors were not even looking at me when explaining my daughter’s case. They were looking at the interpreter or the male person in the room (my ex-husband then). I felt invisible and powerless. The language affected not only me with doctors but also with daycare, finding a job, communicating with people, not being able to do any fun activities, and having no friends. Sadly, dealing with people that thought that because I didn’t speak English, I was not an educated person.

The doctors were going to operate on my daughter. I was not convinced of what the doctors diagnosed. I don’t know how or where the strength came from, but I demanded all medical records and searched for the best radiology doctors in the United States. I found a doctor at Miami Children’s Hospital that transformed my daughter’s life.

I am telling you this story because I was scared, but I learned it is ok to be scared when facing challenges. And I will tell you this as truth; We are stronger than we think. I realized that we have superpowers that will show up when we need them and do things we do not believe we can. Why? Because when the need is strong enough and the passion deep enough, we will find our true selves – our superpower – and grow into the people we were meant to be. 

As of now, my daughter is walking – running! She graduated in chemistry from the University of North Carolina; she is in the process of getting into medical school and getting her personal trainer certification.

As for me, I have a second healthy daughter, and through this experience, I grew, and was able to throw off the shackles of fear and self-doubt. Now, I am:

  • fluent in Spanish and English
  • the Director of a Small Business Administration program that is empowering women in business
  • the Founder of the Carolina Small Business Development Fund Latino Business program that is helping the Latino business community in Spanish across the state
  • founder of a nonprofit organization ReliefBox that helps people of Venezuela who need food, medicine, clothes, and any other essential needs
  • Board Member of Literacy Together, which provides free tutoring for adults, youth, and education to immigrants to learn to read and pass the citizenship test

I will always thank Literacy Together with all my heart for teaching me English as a second language and providing me with the support I needed during these difficult times. Because of them, I am no longer invisible.

I would like to donate and transform lives like Zuri’s!

Continue Reading No Comments

María Guadalupe, an ESOL student from Mexico

María Guadalupe is an ESOL student from Mexico
 
María Guadalupe is an ESOL student from Mexico. In this video, she talks about how improving her English has enriched her life and how she can now support her family to navigate her father’s medical appointments. Thank you, Lupita, for sharing your experience!
 

The English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program teaches oral English, reading, and writing to adults who have immigrated to the U.S. from around the world. ESOL is the largest program at Literacy Together, serving approximately 250 students annually. Our students’ most common goals in learning English are to improve their employment prospects, help their children in school, and pass the U.S. Naturalization exam

Each student works with a trained volunteer tutor, either individually or in a small group of ten people. Tutoring takes place for two hours each week at times and locations that are mutually convenient for students and tutors. Tutors may choose to teach one (1) two-hour session or two (2) one-hour sessions each week and may do so online or in person. Sign up online to volunteer.
 

The ESOL Program welcomes volunteers from all over the world. We now have tutors in Florida, New York, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Texas, the UK, and Germany! Read Barbara’s experience tutoring Maryna remotely, or Cecelia’s work from Germany as an ESOL tutor of six students.

Enjoy these ESOL success stories!

Continue Reading No Comments

Thanks to our ESOL volunteer tutor Anne!

ESOL volunteer tutor AnneThanks to our ESOL volunteer tutor Anne Dachowski for giving her testimonial to Mountain Xpress and helping us accomplish our mission to transform lives and communities through the power of literacy! Anne has been a tutor for 17 years. We appreciate you! Thanks, Mountain Xpress, for your continuous support!
 
“When my schedule opened up 17 years ago, calling up Literacy Together was one of the first things I did. My initial motivation was to give back. My grandfather and great-grandparents came to Philadelphia from Poland knowing no English, and people helped them. I wanted to return the favor.”

Read the testimonial on Mountain Xpress here

The English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program teaches oral English, reading, and writing to adults who have immigrated to the U.S. from around the world. ESOL is the largest program at Literacy Together, serving approximately 250 students annually. Our students’ most common goals in learning English are to improve their employment prospects, help their children in school, and pass the U.S. Naturalization exam

Each student works with a trained ESOL volunteer tutor, either individually or in a small group of ten people. Tutoring takes place for two hours each week at times and locations that are mutually convenient for students and tutors. Tutors may choose to teach one (1) two-hour session or two (2) one-hour sessions each week and may do so online or in person. Read Barbara’s experience tutoring Maryna remotely or Cecelia’s work from Germany as an ESOL tutor of six students! Read more about volunteering with this program.

The ESOL Program welcomes volunteers from all over the world! We now have tutors in Florida, New York, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Texas, the UK, and Germany. Sign up here to volunteer with us!

Enjoy these ESOL success stories!

Continue Reading No Comments

Pay it forward

Paying forward
Pay forward
 
Many of our volunteer tutors come to us with a desire to ‘pay forward’ the help and support that they received when living in countries where they didn’t speak the language. Some are themselves immigrants to the US or are the children of immigrants. Click below to hear from Nora, who has volunteered in our ESOL and Youth Literacy programs and is also a member of our Board of Directors, and Svetlana, whose parents immigrated here from Ukraine and learned English with the help of volunteers tutors. 
 
 

 

The English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program teaches oral English, reading, and writing to adults who have immigrated to the U.S. from around the world. ESOL is the largest program at Literacy Together, serving approximately 250 students annually. Our students’ most common goals in learning English are to improve their employment prospects, help their children in school, and pass the U.S. Naturalization exam

Each student works with a trained volunteer tutor, either individually or in a small group of ten people. Tutoring takes place for two hours each week at times and locations that are mutually convenient for students and tutors. Tutors may choose to teach one (1) two-hour session or two (2) one-hour sessions each week and may do so online or in person. Read Barbara’s experience tutoring Maryna remotely, or Cecelia’s work from Germany as an ESOL tutor of six students! Read more about volunteering with this program.

The ESOL Program welcomes volunteers from all over the world! We now have tutors in Florida, New York, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Texas, the UK, and Germany. Sign up here to volunteer with us!

Enjoy these ESOL success stories!

Continue Reading No Comments

This is what our ESOL tutors say about volunteering with us!

Many potential volunteers find out about us from Volunteer Match, and the more awesome reviews we have on the site, the better! If you are a tutor and could take a few minutes to submit a review here, you’d be helping us recruit more volunteer tutors, and we’ll be very grateful. Thanks in advance! Below is what some of our ESOL tutors said about us! Read more reviews here.

 

 

ESOL tutorsThe English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program teaches oral English, reading, and writing to adults who have immigrated to the U.S. from around the world. ESOL is the largest program at Literacy Together, serving approximately 250 students annually. Our students’ most common goals in learning English are to improve their employment prospects, help their children in school, and pass the U.S. Naturalization exam.

Each student works with a trained volunteer tutor, either individually or in a small group of ten people. Tutoring takes place for two hours each week at times and locations that are mutually convenient for students and tutors. Tutors may choose to teach one (1) two-hour session or two (2) one-hour sessions each week and may do so online or in-person (read Barbara’s experience tutoring Maryna remotely, or Cecelia’s work from Germany as an ESOL tutor of six students!).

The ESOL Program welcomes volunteers from all over the world! We now have tutors in Florida, New York, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Texas, the UK, and Germany. Sign up here to volunteer with us!

Enjoy these ESOL success stories!

 

Continue Reading No Comments

Translate »
Skip to content