Learning is dependent on several things. Repetition, connecting existing knowledge and experience to new ideas and the application of lessons to appropriate situations are all part of the equation. Without the sum of all these parts, the world can be a difficult place to navigate.
For Elive Campos, the world was a strange place. It was a place where bills came through the mail in a language she did not understand; English.
A place where she needed someone to translate her son and daughter’s school reports and grades.
She had difficulty understanding her children, whether playing with each other or at the dinner table. Indeed, her world was a very strange place.
Determined to communicate with her children, distance her family from poverty, create more opportunities and feel more a part of the world she lives in, she turned to the CHRISTUS Learning Center.
“English is very important, “said Campos. “Before coming to CHRISTUS Learning Center, I barely understood English. Thanks to my teachers and classes, I can understand and read English better. Not knowing English was like being in the dark.”
Her determination embroiled a passion in her soul that sustained a daily commute of more than 20 miles for more than 40 minutes, to attend class, after dropping her children off at their respective schools. Rush hour, at the end of her day meant her commute to her children’s school would take more than an hour.
The Right Fit
“I tried other programs with a two-day a week schedule and that was not enough to help me,” said Campos. “Here at CHRISTUS Learning Center, I came every day, for four hours a day and I learned more, practiced my reading and spoke as much as possible. That was the only way for me to improve my English.”
When Campos entered the classroom on the first floor at 2615 Fannin, she left the feeling of being strange outside, becoming a part of a family of multicultural peers, with similar goals to gain a better understanding of the English language. At the end of the day she brought her children and workbooks filled with assignments.
The teachers and volunteers at CHRISTUS Learning Center encouraged Campos to keep practicing, at home. They reminded her that her development as well as the development of her children’s literacy skills depended on her practicing as much as possible. They supported any opportunity for her to improve her literacy because it would not only have an effect on Campos but, it would help build her children’s confidence, expand their knowledge and open up new opportunities for them as well.
Instruction and Encouragement
“We reiterated the importance of her literacy and how it could benefit her and affect her children,” said Olga Rojas, Manager of the CHRISTUS Learning Center. “Research shows that illiteracy can have a lifelong impact on a family, affecting their economic and social development. Here at the CHRISTUS Learning Center we are in the business of teaching students to fish, to use an old saying. We encourage our students to read everything in English, watch English television shows and read everything they drive past like, billboards. We want to help our students create opportunities for themselves and their families. Elive is very motivated to carry out her goals and we couldn’t be happier that she chose us to help her get there.”
“I am thankful for the opportunities I have received,” said Campos. “The future feels bright to me. At the end of the day I want to continue to learn more about English and see where that takes me.”
Surviving the Storm
In 2017, Campos lost everything to the floodwaters that came with Hurricane Harvey’s landfall in Houston. That heartbreaking loss changed her life and the lives of her children. She has been working diligently to rebuild her life ever since.
In light of her hardship, the CHRISTUS Learning Center collected donations to help her get through the Thanksgiving holidays last year. Campos and her children expressed their gratitude for the donated items, citing the holiday as one she would never forget.
A Better Experience
“My thanksgiving was great,” said Campos. “My brother, sister and children had a wonderful holiday thanks to the donation. We cooked turkey, dressing, carrots and more for Thanksgiving. We are very, very grateful for the donation of food. That was a Thanksgiving we will never forget.”
“CHRISTUS Learning Center has given me more opportunities and support than I could have ever imagined,” said Campos. “Everything from a good holiday with my family to better opportunities in the future are because of CHRISTUS Learning Center. My English classes even helped me understand the Red Cross forms I had to file. I would recommend this program to anyone who needs to improve their English. The teachers and staff are very compassionate and knowledgeable.”
Three months and more than 240 hours of instruction later, Campos has developed an amazing command of basic English. She periodically reads for leisure and can hold elementary conversations with just about anyone.
Campos’ world is not so strange anymore. Her English comprehension has opened up a world of possibilities. One of those possibilities includes her new job as a hairdresser at a local salon. She does not need someone to translate mail or bills or her children’s school reports. She reads for fun and is interested in furthering her studies at the CHRISTUS Learning Center.