KARLA—Karla came to Downtown Languages with an elementary education. She completed her secundaria in our program and through a lot of hard work was able to finally obtain her GED through the High School Equivalency Program (HEP) offered by the University of Oregon.
MARTA—After studying with us in our GED Readiness class, Marta obtained her GED at Lane Community College. She is currently studying to be a nurse at the same college.
Pilas Family Literacy
ANI and ROSA—Identical twins Ani and Rosa came to the program without knowing English and unable to recognize or name any shape, color, or number in English or in Spanish. By the end of the program, these five-year olds were able to recognize at least one shape, four colors, and three to five numbers. Their comprehension of the English language improved very quickly, and they had begun using English in speech by the end of the session. They had the highest level of improvement in our post-session evaluation.
MARINA—A shy four-year-old girl, Marina has participated in our Pilas program for three consecutive sessions. Last year, we wanted her to attend the pre-school class but she was afraid to do so, and we decided to place her with the younger children in childcare. This year, we encouraged her to be in the pre-school classroom. She not only enjoyed herself, but she learned many social skills and had the highest level of improvement in the post-evaluation. She is still shy, but she managed to make several friends by the end of the session.
RENALDO—Renaldo, one of our returning students, showed remarkable progress this session. He has attended Pilas for three sessions. In the past, he had always seemed tired and unmotivated, but this time he was inquisitive and eager to learn. The teacher reports that he took the initiative to participate in all of the activities and he got a perfect score in his post-evaluation. He is only four years old, but the teacher says that he is completely ready for kindergarten.
Citizenship and Civics
Obtaining American citizenship is a goal of many of our students, many of whom are older individuals who often fall through the system cracks. Meet Elena:
ELENA—Elena was a remarkable 74-year old woman from Mexico who obtained her U.S. citizenship after 10 months of studying at DTL. The process was strenuous given that her English skills were low and her study skills not entirely developed due to the fact that she was not able to complete all of her basic education in her home country. She worked hard to memorize all the information needed to pass the exam and in early 2010, achieved her goal. The June 2010 issue of Adelante Latino featured her story, acknowledging her hard work and success, and portraying her as an example of a good role model for the Latino community.