"Of course I'm coming to class!"
When Cristina knew that Harvey was on its way, she had hope that she and her family would be okay. But the rain started, and the water rose. Cristina began to lose hope. It happened quickly – first the car, next the apartment, and then the rescue by boat. She, her husband, and young son had only the clothes they were wearing.
“My friend had an apartment. It was small, but she said we could stay with her. We slept on the floor. That night, I couldn’t sleep. I felt lost, and grateful at the same time. Grateful to the men with the boat, grateful to my friend. But I didn’t even know where to start to rebuild our lives. I was overwhelmed.”
Cristina didn’t know it yet, but she had a support system standing ready to help her. Cristina had you.
Within two days of being forced from her home, Literacy Advance called Cristina, one of the 600+ calls we made to check on our students and volunteers. When Cristina told us what had happened and how urgent her immediate needs were, we quickly linked her to practical help. She came by Literacy Advance and picked up a big bag of donated clothes. She was referred to emergency food pick-up, to recovery resources, and to help finding permanent housing.
“Literacy Advance was the first one to call me, and to help me. Diana helped me find many places in Houston where I could get help – food for my family, uniforms for my son, help to find a place to stay... the bag of clothes you gave me even had a hairdryer, which I really needed! I was so grateful.”
Diana Delgado, our Transition Coach, knew how much stress Cristina was dealing with, including a longer work commute and exhausting phone calls. Many Literacy Advance families are like Cristina’s – already among the most vulnerable in Houston, in constant anxiety because of language difficulties, and often in crisis. When Diana was surprised to see Cristina in class within a week of Harvey, Cristina didn’t understand her surprise.
“Of course I’m coming to class! I set this goal for myself, to learn English. It’s just as important as before. It’s even more important. I need to learn English to put our lives back together. And coming to my class is good for me. It makes me feel I’m slowly getting back to a normal life, and my mind is occupied with good things in class. What happened to me and my family wasn’t easy.”
Because of your support, Literacy Advance serves 1,500 students and their families each year. Whether they’re in crisis from a storm or because they cannot speak English at a level to stay employed or advance to higher wages at work – we are here.
As life gets back to some type of normal, more and more adults are turning to us for a chance at a better future through better English or improved reading. Just like Cristina, our students know that learning English and coming to class is crucial for jobs, education, and the ultimate goal – prosperity for them and their families.
Melanie Fisk, MSW, MBA
- 175 adult students took reading classes (Adult Basic Education, or ABE)
- 1,165 adult students took English classes (English as a Second Language, or ESL)
- 770 classes of all types (reading + English + supplemental)
- 99% of students made progress toward a life goal
- 260 volunteer tutors
- 10 Family Literacy Events
- 850 Family Literacy attendees
- Over 2,000 new books given out to kids
- 600+ check-in phone calls made in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey