Committed to education and Listos
by Donna Childs
In these days of immigration in the news, let me introduce you to Guillermina Garcia. Guillermina came here in 2005 from Oaxaca, Mexico, determined to get an education. She began with ESL classes. Then, since she had been unable to complete high school in Mexico, she earned a GED, no small feat for a recent arrival new to the language and culture. When her older son started school, Guillermina began volunteering as a teacher’s aide in his classroom. She did that throughout his elementary school years and is still continuing in her younger son’s classroom, while also helping at the older son’s middle school. In addition, she is now enrolled in a year-long program at Mt. Hood Community College to become a licensed teacher’s aide. And that isn’t all. She has volunteered for five years in the Listos para el kínder program at the Midland Library.
Listos is a program for Spanish-speaking children, ages 3-5, and their parents. Twelve to fifteen families, parents and children, come to the library together for 12 weeks. The program is taught in Spanish, and uses Latino cultural references. Children learn such basics as ABC’s, writing their names, and following directions, while parents see how children learn, how to support their child’s learning at home, and what to expect of their children, thereby becoming more confident in their ability to help them learn. According to an independent evaluation of the program, Listos graduates not only have acquired skills, but they are also more enthusiastic about school and more likely to read outside of school. In 2016-17, 37 Listos families checked out more than 2000 books from the library.
As a Listos volunteer, Guillermina helps organize materials for the sessions, assists the teacher throughout, and is solely responsible for the children in the 15 minutes of each session when parents and children meet separately. Her dedication at the library, in her sons’ classrooms, and to her own learning has earned Guillermina an award from her son’s school and a scholarship to Mt Hood Community College. Talk about walking the walk: she acts on her belief in education. As she said, she hopes to be a good role model for her sons and to continue learning while helping children.
A few facts about Guillermina
Home library: Midland
Currently reading: Mind in the Making, by Ellen Galinsky, about child development
Favorite book from childhood: my school history book in 5th grade
Most influential book: children's books
Book that made you cry: Como agua para chocolate by Laura Esquivel and Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
Favorite browsing section: Spanish cooking books
E-reader or paper? paper books
Favorite place to read: the library
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