First Person Perspective: Estela’s Story

By Zuleika Andrade on November 10, 2016

Categories: Our Work


Last week, I had the pleasure of participating in LIFT-Los Angeles’ annual letter writing workshop, in which our dedicated members write letters to generous sponsors sharing their holiday wishes.

Since 2013, through the kindness of our donors, LIFT-Los Angeles has been able to successfully fulfill the requests of our members during the holiday season.

This year, it was my honor to sit with Mrs. Estela, whose face beamed with pride and joy as she told me about her involvement with our English as a Second Language (ESL) program. She shared that she never misses a class and looks forward to coming every week. The best part? Those twice-a-week classes allowed Mrs. Estela to do something she never thought she’d be able to do.

At her son’s school open house recently, Mrs. Estela said she noticed a man sitting alone, leaning back in his office chair – eyes closed and head reclined as if he were tired after a long day of teaching and meeting with parents. Mrs. Estela said on the opposite side of the room there was a group of parents talking to the Spanish-speaking teachers.

She quietly motioned to the man in the chair and asked her son, “Who’s that?” “That’s my teacher, “he said. “But he only speaks English.”

Mrs. Estela looked at her son and said, “I speak English.”

She approached the teacher and introduced herself, asking “how is my son doing in your class?”

Mrs. Estela was excited as she shared with me that by using a few sentences she learned in our ESL classes, she was able to talk with her child’s teacher for the first time. She said he was kind and shared positive feedback about her son’s progress in school. Mrs. Estela was so happy and proud of herself for having the courage to speak to him using her new skills and was extremely grateful to LIFT for the classes. And for helping her see that she now knows she can do whatever she sets out to do for herself and for her children.

Listening to Mrs. Estela reminded me of an opportunity earlier this year when I interviewed and got to know three of our dedicated members better for A Parent’s Perspective, a recent LIFT publication., Like those parents, Mrs. Estela is the voice of so many loving caregivers who, thanks to their membership and active participation with LIFT, are able to engage with the school system and other community providers to become informed, dynamic advocates for themselves and for their children.

About the Author

Zuleika Andrade

As Senior Program Manager, Zuleika’s job at LIFT is to provide management, support, training and direction to LIFT-Los Angeles’ staff with special attention to member service quality and local volunteer management, training and service delivery. Zuleika works with LIFT’s national team and LIFT-Los Angeles leaders to work and track progress toward ambitious annual goals in Read More