by Jane Salisbury, MCL volunteer
Gaby Delgado loves children. Everything in her life reflects that love, including her service for the past three years as a program assistant with Library Coordinator Delia Palomeque Morales in the Listos para el Kinder (“Listos”) program. Listos is a youth services program for Spanish-speaking children aged three to five and their parents. Sessions are conducted entirely in Spanish, and teachers emphasize early learning skills, such as pre literacy, early math, self-regulation, and interpersonal skills. Parents are encouraged to observe how their children learn best and how to build confidence and connection with their children as they grow. Listos families frequently become library users.
Gaby was a teacher in Peru for twenty-five years, working with parents and young children, and doing early intervention with babies. She has also taught baby massage to help parents connect deeply with their babies.
When Gaby and her family came to the United States from Peru four years ago, the first thing they did together was go to the library. With her husband and daughter Ximena, who is now a senior in high school, she came every week to the Gresham Library to use the internet and make connections. When she saw a flyer at the library about the Listos program, she thought, “That is for me.”
Of her work, Gaby said, “Delia is excellent, an angel. In the Listos program, we work directly with children ages 3-5, first together, and then the children have their own time. I set up, we work on things like letters, shapes, colors, numbers, and promote positive interactions between parents and children. I can advise parents on how to connect with their children. Many families are new immigrants who only speak Spanish and have many challenges. I love working with them.”
Gaby grew up in a family where reading was highly valued, but libraries were not the same as they are in the United States. Gaby explained, “Libraries in Peru are very different— they are academic, silent, and you can only borrow one or two books. Being in the library here is like being at home with your own family.”
Gaby’s whole family is involved at the library. Ximena is a Summer Reading volunteer, and Gaby’s husband has taken English classes at the library and now works for Hacienda CDC, as a result.
Gaby is currently re-reading books on baby massage, getting ready to do some workshops on massage and attachment. When I asked her about a favorite book from childhood, Gaby mentioned El Principito, (in English, The Little Prince, by Antoine Saint-Exupery). She is also fond of poetry and the writings of Gabriel Garcia-Marquez. But most important for her is the poem she recited by heart as we sat together in the library, because it mirrors her own experience and her deep love of children. The poem is “Tristitia” by the great early 20th century Peruvian poet Abraham Valdolemar. The words stayed with her throughout her childhood and helped her change her own story.