Maria: President of the Parents
It was less than a year ago when Maria found herself waiting on the phone line for over a half an hour just to speak with the school’s translator. All she wanted was to ensure her sons’ success in school, but her ability to communicate directly with school officials was slim. Maria had encountered struggles in the past which stemmed from not speaking English- with doctors, neighbors, and even her landlord- but this was not acceptable. For Maria, this was the last straw; to be the mother her sons needed her to be, she would have to learn English.
Finding Literacy Partners could not have been more – in Maria’s own words - “perfect”. Classes were available at times that fit her schedule, and didn’t interfere with the periods she set aside to spend with her children. Better yet, after only a few lessons, Maria was able to start helping her sons with their homework.
She even said of Ronaldo, her six-year-old son,“We’re learning the same words. I like that because we understand and learn together.”
Every night Maria sits down with both Ronaldo and her nine-year-old son, Mauricio, for two hours. They read, – both in English and Spanish- do homework, practice their vocabulary, and most importantly, spend quality time together. Maria has gone from never helping her sons with homework to helping five to six times per week. Furthermore, she has increased the time spent reading with them (the greatest single thing parents can do with their children to improve academic performance and school readiness) from one to two times, to three to four times per week. Looking back, it amazes Maria that she used to have to call the school’s homework helpline whenever her children had a question. Now, she’s able to be right there when they need her.
But Maria didn’t stop with her sons’ homework - she’s now an active parent at their school. Inspired to help other parents in the community, she even joined the PTA. Hailed as “The president of the parents,” by the school’s principal, Maria makes sure she continues to live up to the name. She’s confident and secure, no longer nervous to reach out to others. Instead, she quickly steps into a role as the leader and translator for those who need assistance.
In one academic year at Literacy Partners, Maria gained two educational levels! She also has seen a reduction of stress in her life, simply by being able to communicate with those around her.
When asked what she enjoys most about living in New York, Maria said, “everyone has the freedom to express themselves how they want.” And now Maria can have a taste of that same freedom.