An Empowering Story

As we were leaving the center of town in Magdalena we saw a smiling girl that stared at us and greeted us good morning, I would later learn who she was. We continued to walk, we asked for directions but were unable to understand any of them… and all we did was to continue walking. Surprise, we got lost! We had taken a different path so we ended up in another family’s house. We walked back to the main road and there it was with clear waters flowing; the river they had told us to follow as directions. As we walked past the river, we saw a house on a steep hill, maybe that was the house. Suddenly we looked back, and Carmen Leticia was approaching us, she had been in town handing in her last assignments. Now we had her company climbing up the hill to the right house (I personally thought of it as my exercise for the day).

We got there and talked for a while and our ears had the pleasure of listening to the reading Carmen did for us, of one of the books she had been assigned by the librarian in the school she attends. As she finished the reading she said, ‘’I did not read before [this experience], because I did not know reading was a thing l liked to do. More than a hobby, reading is becoming my passion.’’

Carmen Leticia giving our ears the pleasure of listening to her reading.

The following is the rest of Carmen Leticia’s story she told us that day we visited. She is a seventh grader in Hector Orlando Gómez Cisneros high school, in Magdalena.

My childhood was a great stage in my life. When I started going to elementary school I was about 6 years old and I loved it, school became my favorite place to be. I went every single day and what I liked the most about it was the teachers I had. They walked me and my classmates through the learning process with so much love. Although they are not English speakers they taught us some basic English vocabulary. There was where I learned many important things that are helping me in life.  

While school was great, the rest of my life was not very easy and normal as it is for many. I am the child of a single mother so while mom worked, I had to stay at home with my grandparents and my siblings. They encouraged me to be a good student in school because they said it would bring benefits to my life. And so I did, I did my best at school.

I had finally reached the age to enter junior high. I was very motivated to start because I love learning, and what makes it even more encouraging to be a junior high student is learning that reading is one of the things I enjoy doing. I learned this when I got the tablet for being a part of the scholarship program. Now I read to my little cousins, to my grandparents and to my siblings to all of my family.   

I am working hard to accomplish all the goals I have in life. My grades have improved a lot and what gets me motivated is knowing that my future matters to me.

Carmen Leticia has been a member of our scholarship program, and was also a participant in the reading program for the 2020 school year, in which she did an awesome job getting 2nd place out of 75 students. She is very enthusiastic about learning and has demonstrated being a great student, taking advantage of her time and completing all of her chores at home, as well as assignments for school. While we chose to only highlight Carmen's story for our blog, many of the students that stood out to us during this first Frontera reading program had similar stories. We, Shoulder to Shoulder, feel proud of Carmen and her peer's hard work towards building success in their futures.

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Nely Vasquez - reading program coordinator (Left), Paulina - 1st place winner (middle),                         Damaris Quintero - scholarship coordinator (right)


Carmen - 2nd place winner (left),                         Saori - 3rd place winner (right)