(Story submitted by: Madyson Smith)

Mina emigrated to the United States with her husband from Iran. She did not know a single word in English when she arrived. She became an ESL Learner at Literacy Advance in Houston to become literate in English.

“When I came here, I couldn’t say hello… I didn’t have any confidence to speak in English, and I believe that I cannot...I thought never ever can I make one correct sentence in English. But I came here [to Literacy Advance],” said Mina.

“I know I am like a small baby here who is trying to speak English, learning. Like a baby trying to walk. This time I am an adult but at the same time, I am like a child and it’s not easy. I know that I can do it. It’ll take hard work. But I know it’s possible for me.”

When asked about her experience at Literacy Advance, Mina explained, “I don’t feel like I’m alone. I know a place that is close to me. And it feels like home to me. And I have friends over there. I feel more comfortable. I feel safe. When I am coming here, I don’t worry about anything.”

“Before I came to Literacy Advance, I was just thinking maybe I can speak English, and maybe just make one correct sentence English, and maybe find some friends. And at that time, I was so disappointed and depressed. I couldn’t imagine a goal, some goals, like right now. I had a small goal, just like make a quick sentence, one quick sentence in English, but I grow it here. They helped me to discover. And I have a bigger goal right now.”

Mina's message to those who are learning English as their second language is, “Every day try to learn English. It doesn’t matter if you are sad or disappointed. Don’t think you cannot learn it. Just do it. Just keep going and one day, you will feel like you pass some lower level and you feel that you grew in your English skills. But it takes time and you need help. You need support. For me, I found that help and support at Literacy Advance.”