To help improve Spanish speakers’ literacy in Schuyler, new classes are being held to help attendees learn to read and write in Spanish.
Luis Lucar, a community organizer at the Heartland Workers Center, said the first round of classes started a month ago at the Schuyler Public Library with four or five students. It’s a community initiative supported by the workers center.
The classes are meant for those who already know Spanish but need extra help in reading and writing in the language.
It’s one way the Heartland Workers Center tries to foster a culture of engagement and organize community leaders to create change with immigrants and underrepresented communities, Lucar noted.
“Giving these individuals the basic tools any human being deserves, like learning to read and write, we help them to easily find the path of opportunities they are looking for after they made the choice to leave their hometown and families,” Lucar said.
Many immigrants in Schuyler could not attend school as a child, he said. One of the students, who is from Guatemala, has a story that Lucar said breaks his heart.
“Her parents were killed when she was a little girl and was sent to live with her uncles,” Lucar said. “They lived in extreme poverty, so sending her to school was not a realistic option. She had to work to help provide money for basic home needs. She was very happy to have this new opportunity that, no doubt, will change her life forever.”
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Victor Marin is one of the students taking the classes. He came to Schuyler from El Salvador because he has family members already living there.
“(I) kind of know a little bit on how to read and write but (I) want to be better, to learn more,” Marin said, as translated from Spanish by Lucar. “(I want to learn) how to pronounce some words, how to connect some letters.”
Marin is employed as a baker; he mostly bakes bread, Lucar translated.
The classes are run by volunteers.
“We have four bilingual teachers from the Schuyler Community School: Nadia Morales, Odalyz Cruz, Guadalupe Ramirez and Lesli Osorio. Without them this project would not be possible,” Lucar said. “There are also volunteers like Reina Alarcon, Elvia Magaña and Leticia Ortiz. We also need to especially thank the support of the Schuyler Public Library for providing a clean and comfortable classroom for our classes.”
Lucar noted that a community benefits when its members get an education because that leads to more opportunities to succeed, receive a better income and live healthier.
“We envision a community that has equal opportunities for everyone, a community more involved in their children's education; a community more engaged in the understanding of the importance of being properly politically and locally represented,” Lucar said. “We need more active leaders in our communities, especially in the rural areas of Nebraska.”
He added that more classes are planned for the future.
“The idea is to keep growing these numbers and have a bigger impact,” Lucar said. “We hope to increase the number of classes and students by next year.”
Hannah Schrodt is the news editor of the Schuyler Sun. Reach her via email at email@example.com.