716.651.0465 | Airport Commerce Park | 303 Cayuga Rd., Suite 180 | Cheektowaga, NY 14225

Guest Blog By Cecilia Brock, Literacy of Northern New York


I wonder how much time he spends with Hispanic immigrants because the ones I’ve met, who attend the English classes at the nonprofit I work at, spend a great deal of time and energy working to learn our language and culture.

Several Hispanic immigrants recently showed up at our English class one morning when the temperature was double digits below zero in our Northern New York community. Marisol, who owns a number of rental properties, comes to class twice a week despite her busy work schedule. She often steps out briefly to field calls from her tenants but despite having to plow driveways, repair and rent out apartments, shows up faithfully to class.

Miguel is also one of our regulars. He cleans off the whiteboard for the teacher at the beginning of class and rolls her cart of supplies down the hall to the literacy office afterward as a sign of the great respect he has for the woman who teaches him to speak and understand English better. Miguel is a generous soul who gives fellow students rides home when they need it. He also helped our nonprofit agency by speaking to the United Way volunteers who recommend how much grant funding we receive.

Maricela, a native of Guatemala, lives on a dairy farm and has worked individually with a volunteer tutor for several years. She speaks English quite well and has improved her ability to read in English and do math. Her goal is to obtain a high school equivalency degree. She helps her son with his homework, volunteers at his school, and has raised funds for people affected by several natural disasters, including the residents of Puerto Rico after the devastating hurricane in 2017.

Mariely, a native of Puerto Rico, has learned to speak English better so she can communicate with her daughter’s teachers and American friends.

Esther, a native of Ecuador, learned to speak English better and referred many of her Hispanic friends to our class. She has spent many years volunteering at our fundraisers as a way of giving back to the program that has helped her learn English. A generous person, she is active in her church and spends a lot of time helping other people, celebrating their weddings and providing comfort when they are ill.

As for their children learning to speak English, all of the ones I have met were fluent in English after attending our local schools.

Our community is much richer thanks to the presence of our hardworking, family-oriented Hispanic residents. All the ones I have met work hard to assimilate into our culture and give back generously to the communities in which they reside.

Pictured: Mariely and her boyfriend Omar at a class luncheon.