Maria Jesus Alonso, or Maja, as her friends call her, moved to Chicago on a fiancée visa from Malagá, Spain. Adapting to a new culture and language—coupled with being a newlywed with a teenage daughter—has proved difficult, but things started looking up when she found Erie House. Maja was paired with Barbara Reed, a volunteer tutor in the Community Literacy program at Erie House.
“My English is growing with Barbara as my teacher,” Maja says following a group tutoring session. “She is very intuitive and adapts to my needs as a student.” She has already improved from Level 2 to Level 3 on the Basic English Skills Test and is gaining confdence as a result.
- Maja Alonso
Still awaiting her green card, Maja volunteers at Erie House to help others who are learning English as well. “I am a person who needs to do lots of things, ”she explains. “When I have the opportunity to work, I will have the skills necessary to succeed,” she says.