By Danielle Lankford, Guadalupe School Communications Specialist
Our Adult Education students come to the US and to Guadalupe School for many reasons. But, the main reason they take the leap to move here and to pursue English language education is to have a better life for themselves and their families. Education is a major part of that transformation, whether it's a mom learning English to be able to advocate for her children, a father taking a citizenship class to set an example for his family, or a second generation child going off to University, thanks to the support of parents who know the value of a good education.
This week, in our Transforming Lives through Education series, we'd like to share with you some of the powerful things our adult students say about transforming their lives through education in the USA.
By Danielle Lankford, Communications Specialist
In 2003, Kyle Price was a typical young student at the University of Utah. Pursuing a college degree, but not quite sure yet where he was headed. As part of his general education, Kyle signed up for a service learning class, for a chance to experience education outside the classroom. But, as it turned out, he would be the teacher in this class.
He was placed to volunteer here at Guadalupe School teaching English to adult immigrants, and that experience is what transformed his path in life from one of uncertainty to one of direction, dedication, and service working in the nonprofit world.
In consistency with the adult education’s small group model, he was given a group of four men from Central America in their 20’s and 30’s and was tasked with teaching them his native language. But, Kyle also learned while he taught.
As he spent time with his students, he learned about their personal lives: their families, their interests, and the struggles they faced being immigrants in a foreign nation. Kyle says he remembers one student in particular who completely changed his outlook on life and his direction.
When he was not attending English classes, Miguel worked tirelessly at a mechanic shop, but had lately been having some trouble with his employer due to being undocumented. Tired of the way he was being treated, Miguel sought legal counsel. He wanted to become a citizen so that he could actually see the fruits of his labor. He saved up and invested a lot of money in hiring an immigration attorney, but once the money had changed hands, Miguel never heard from his attorney again.
Kyle says this is the moment where his life was transformed. He could not believe that someone would take advantage of such a vulnerable, hardworking individual. He said, “I was just totally shaken by that.” Shaken so much, that he decided right then and there what he would do with his life. He knew he wanted to be an advocate for people like Miguel.
So, Kyle decided to major in political science at the University of Utah, taking classes in sociology and community development. After college he took that interest and passion in local level change and joined the Peace Corps and later went on to work for the International Rescue Committee. Today, he is a Community School Coordinator with United Way of Salt Lake, where he takes care of the school that started it all.
After years of nonprofit work, Kyle says he enjoys working with UWSL because of their innovative approach to strengthening and empowering communities, and he still loves the Guadalupe School, which he believes is, “a great model to affect the whole family and further opportunities.” And, his favorite part of it all - is interacting with the families that he has the privilege of helping every day, even if it’s with something as small as a new pair of glasses from United Way’s mobile vision clinic.
Each time he interacts with these families, Kyle remembers that time when his education and his educatING transformed his life and brought him full circle to where he is today… That time when a meaningful interaction in an educational environment turned into a calling.
By Danielle Lankford, Communications Specialist
Welcome to 2016! The beginning of a new year is a great time to start fresh, look at the world in a new light, and shake things up. And, for Guadalupe School, that’s exactly what we’re doing.
But, 2016 is not only a new year, but it’s a very special year for our school: our 50th birthday! Celebrating fifty years of uplifting Salt Lake City through educational resources for anyone willing to learn is an incredible milestone. So, while we look to the future and what we can do differently or better, it’s also important that we get back to the roots of where our humble organization all started. It’s critical that we honor that original idea that sparked the movement we now carry on together.
A few weeks ago, we got together as an organization and asked ourselves, “What is it that happens here at Guadalupe?” What do we get inspired by? What do we wake up and come to work every day for? What keeps our volunteers coming back? What is it that makes our students exceptional?
As you can imagine, there were a lot of inspiring stories that went along with these questions. But, in the end, we could all agree on one thing. A central theme of the work we and our students do that truly makes the difference.
Tomorrow, we will be revealing our BRAND NEW MISSION STATEMENT and with it, a new perspective on what it means to work, give, learn, and volunteer at Guadalupe. Thank you for inspiring us to find a new direction, mixed with the stories that have taken place here over the last fifty years. We’re changing our outlook a bit, but not our commitment to quality education in Salt Lake City.