Dolores started learning English at Stateline Literacy Council (SLC) in the winter of 2019, just before the pandemic.
She was very shy and hesitant to speak up at first. “In language learning, there is a silent period in the beginning where people need to hear the language and before they're really able to say much. This is where she was when she came to us,” shares Leeanna, Program Coordinator of SLC.
When Dolores was at home or work, she spoke predominantly Spanish. She didn’t have a lot exposure to English. “Believe it or not even living here in the US, it's very possible to not be exposed to it, especially if you're not exposed to the language at work,” said Leeanna.
Dolores shared, “I just felt like I couldn't express myself at all. I couldn't get my point across.” Not being able to communicate what you want, need, or think is frustrating. When she initially started, Dolores had anxiety and frustration about English.
But she stuck with it. She attended classes with near-perfect attendance.
Now, in 2021, Dolores has a different job. She is earning a higher hourly wage and is enrolled in a business class. In Mexico she was a business owner.
Dolores plans to finish SLC’s English II class and then apply for citizenship.
Of Dolores’ transformation, Leeanna shares: “She was just so terrified at first. Now, she participates all the time in class - asking questions and sharing her thoughts. It's phenomenal to see! She really found her footing in the U.S. Now, she's thinking about buying a new house, and potentially opening up a business at some point. It's been a pleasure for me to be able to work with her, and to be with her on this journey that she's embarked on here in the States.”
Dolores has found a community at SLC and here in Wisconsin.