Before I became a part of South Central LAMP, my life was always about work. I only had two kids at the time and they were going to school. I did not know or have ever heard about South Central LAMP. Later I had another son. At two years old, the doctor had told me that he was speaking very little and that at his age he should be speaking more. She was going to refer me to a specialist if he continued to have problems with his speech. If I would talk to my son, he wouldn’t respond or hardly speak. I have a neighbor who used to come to South Central LAMP, she called me and talked to me about the program and what the agency offered, such as English classes, and that there were teachers available for the children. I found myself with the need to find help for my son because I knew he had a problem. When I came to South Central LAMP, for me it was something so incredible because I never imagined that this agency would offer so much help. In the beginning it was a bit difficult for me because of the language and I did not understand any English. It was something so new to me and I didn’t even believe in myself that someday I could learn. I would say, “If I can’t learn, well at least my son will have the help he needs.” The months went by and I was liking this program very much because of the personnel, the different classes that are offered such as PCILA (Parent Child Interactive Literacy Activities), parenting classes and English classes. I was thankful to God for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this. I thought that if I let it go, I wouldn’t be able to get it back. I had seen the difference in my son, my other daughter was small as well and I noticed everything she was learning. As for my oldest children, they never had that kind of education. In the beginning I felt guilty, because if there is help out there for children, why didn’t I go out and look for it? Or why didn’t I know about this before so that my two older kids could’ve had the same opportunity? But in the end, it is never too late and from here on out I will take advantage of what I didn’t before.
I really enjoyed PCILA because it allows for parents to spend time with their kids in the classroom. I thank God that my three youngest were a part of it. I am happy that my daughter was able to be a part of the program from her infancy. I thought it was marvelous to learn about the different age groups, I learned the importance about dedicating the time to our kids, reading to them or singing to them. I wake up every morning and I sing to them, my kids tell me that they are happy and they see a change in me. I would’ve loved to continue studying here, because I am in need of so much more. I would like for there to be more levels of English classes available. Personally, I would like for those who donate to South Central LAMP to keep giving so that the agency can provide more levels and more opportunities to keep learning.
This program has helped me a lot in developing my self-esteem, in the beginning I didn’t think I was capable of communicating even in my own language with my classmates or with my teachers. I always thought I had no voice or vote. Now, I believe I have learned so much and that a woman is valuable. As a child, I only attended school until I reached elementary. It was very difficult for my mom after my dad passed away, and so I stopped going to school so that I can help her. At that time, I thought it would be impossible for me to ever learn again. I did not believe in myself.
Today, I can communicate with others, I can tell my friends that if you pursue something and work hard, it can be done. I am a mother of five, I would wake up at five-thirty every morning to make breakfast and get my kids ready for school and then I would get ready to come to South Central LAMP. It’s doable, it’s not easy but it’s not impossible.
One of the most important things that I take from this program is that I am valuable. Just because I did not have an education before does not mean that I am nobody. I thank God for teacher Helen. She always told us in class, “You are women, and you are valuable. If you set a goal, you can reach it.” Those words will always stay with me. Now, I don’t believe there is a word anyone can say that will bring me down because I know who I am.
To all the donors, I thank you. I don’t know everyone who donates but for me, it was a privilege to be a part of South Central LAMP. This place has become my second home, I always felt very happy being here and the only thing I can say, is to keep giving. The money you invested in me did not go to waste, I took advantage and put in my effort to make the best of it. May God bless you for all your donations to support the women and children. To all the staff, I am very thankful. These three years were the most wonderful, I cannot say anything negative about anyone. Everyone here always treated me well and with a smile. Thank you to Diana, Luz, Claudia, Helen and all the teachers for everything.