This week we celebrate Maria’s ambitious journey to aim higher, gain independence, and achieve success in her career field through her work with her tutor, Dawn, to make her dreams come true.
Maria had some training with the English language during high school and college but did not have a lot of English-speaking experience. She started in a beginner English class at Wayne Community College and quickly moved to a more advanced class. Her teacher spoke to Maria of aiming higher and using her education to achieve her career goals. She started taking Cisco classes and was referred as an intern to Literacy Connections to help improve her English language skills and to gain work experience. After a few weeks, she was learning a new computer system, trying to perfect her speech but wanted more. The staff worked with Maria to connect her with a tutor.
Dawn, an experienced IT Director, had recently left the corporate world and was looking for a way to contribute to her community. Google and her love of reading lead her to Literacy Connections. Seeing the similarities in their educational background the staff thought it would be a perfect match. They started working together by just talking about their lives and getting to know each other while Dawn corrected pronunciation. They moved on to conjugating verbs, vocabulary lists, and grammar. As Maria’s confidence grew, they worked on resumes, job applications, interview skills, and studying for the driver license test.
In late summer 2018, she got a job as a waitress at a local restaurant. She credits her employment to Literacy Connections as she had to speak English to all the customers and wouldn’t have been comfortable otherwise. Maria waitressed for a year while still studying for her Cisco certification and saving money to buy a car. In August of 2019, she obtained a position as an IT intern working 24 hours a week. She was able to leave the waitressing job and concentrate more fully on her Cisco education.
After working as an intern for seven months, she finally got the call from her dream employer, Cisco. She aced the interview and was hired. Due to the pandemic, she hasn’t been able to work in the office in Raleigh yet but works remotely from home. She speaks English for nine hours a day and loves every second of it. Maria says she wouldn’t have been able to achieve her ultimate goal without those months at Literacy Connections with her tutor.
Now, more than ever, our community needs us, and we need Friends like you!
Open the door for individuals like Maria.