Melida Banegas graduated from LCNV's Family Learning Program this spring. Raised in Honduras in Central America, Melida spoke only Spanish before she moved to the United States in 2005. She enrolled in the Family Learning Program (FLP) at LCNV because she was determined to learn to read, write and speak better English. "It is important to learn English because we can have more opportunities in our life," says Melida. “I can proudly say that I now speak two languages, both my native language and English. I joined LCNV’s Family Learning Program because I wanted to learn English and also help other students," she adds.
LCNV's FLP curriculum encourages parents to increase their involvement in their children’s education. These classes encourage reading and other family activities through workshops, book giveaways, and fieldtrips. Elizabeth Magee, LCNV Lead Teacher, says, "The Family Learning Program is a beginning level English class for family members. The classes are intended to help family members work together to achieve their goals. The main objective of the Family Learning Program is to help families empower themselves."
Melida was a primary school teacher in Honduras and has always been inspired by the power of learning English and the education sector as a whole. After graduating in April, Melida enrolled for the high-beginning level English classes at Fairfax County’s Adult and Community Education center (ACE) in Springfield, Virginia. A partnership between LCNV and Fairfax County ACE made it possible for LCNV to award Melida for her perfect attendance with a $50 scholarship towards her enrollment in the ACE higher-level English classes.
Keen to continue pursuing advanced English classes at ACE, Malida says finding the time is a struggle. "It's difficult to make time to go to school, especially when you have a job and a family to support. But it is my goal to learn English and I know I am getting there."
Speaking about Melida, Elizabeth says, "She demonstrates increased confidence and joy in teaching today.” Having graduated from LCNV’s Family Learning Program, Melida is now volunteering as an FLP class aide supporting LCNV teachers. “Melida is serving as a Class Aide, essentially assisting teachers in carrying out classroom duties. Melida came to us as a trained teacher, an avid learner and a conscientious parent. She knows that teaching is not explaining, but helping people take their own steps forward in using new knowledge," says Elizabeth.
LCNV’s English classes have contributed in a big way to boosting Melida’s confidence and sense of community. "I spoke very little English before joining LCNV…English classes have changed the way I communicate with my children, family, and the community,” she says, adding, “I can now help my children at school and also help my family. Now I can communicate with my bosses at work and speak more confidently with others in English.”