Student Stories

A Spirit of Service

Mi Sun Kim

Mi Sun Kim is originally from South Korea and moved to the U.S. with her husband and their kids in January 2020. Her husband came here to complete a year at the University of Nebraska in Omaha. Back in South Korea, Mi Sun taught Korean to international students. How fitting that she would become a student at Learning For ALL (LFA) after hearing about us from a Korean friend. Although she had done well with English grammar studies during high school, she still struggled with speaking and listening in English. This is where LFA classes came in. Mi Sun enjoyed the in-person classes that were available in pre-pandemic times. The comradery of the classroom environment provided many learning experiences and opportunities to practice English with other students. She was still a little nervous in classes as you have to be on your best game to carry a conversation in a language you are still mastering. Mi Sun has found that LFA’s online classes have cured her nervousness. She can take more time to think about and formulate her responses. It’s also a big relief to have the option to continue learning while keeping her family safe during the pandemic. When the Kim family returns to Korea, Mi Sun hopes to pass the exam to become a public official. She says she doesn’t know exactly what position she wants yet; she just knows she wants to serve her community. Let’s all wish her luck!

"LFA Gave Me My Confidence Back"

Stephanie West

Originally from Fort Worth, Texas, Stephanie overcame a turbulent past and decided to create a better life in Omaha. Deciding to get on the path by earning her GED, she found Learning For ALL classes were open for her to begin immediately working towards this goal. Stephanie pushed herself through classwork with determination but without confidence. As she performed far better on her tests than she ever expected, she began realizing, “they were right; I am smart!” Stephanie has nothing but good things to say about her teacher, Mr. Owen, who she says “taught me about myself.” Stephanie hopes to continue her education and become a Medical Billing Coder, a job with decent pay that will allow her to work from home. As a single mother with a special needs child, she can work and care for her son. They can finally have the life they’ve imagined.

"They Helped Me; I Want To Help Them"

Parika Bavari

Parika Bavari loved her life in Iran but still made the difficult decision to come to the U.S. in 2013.  She wanted more freedom for herself and better education for her children. In the U.S., she found these things but also struggled with speaking and understanding English. A work colleague shared their experience with Parika about how they were able to improve their English skills at Learning For ALL. Parika enrolled at LFA and has been taking online classes because of the pandemic. She finds that online classes have helped her balance her studies and family life. Without having to commute to class, she can spend more time on homework and working with her teacher. Parika says that she has benefited tremendously from one-on-one tutoring at LFA. She has seen her English skills improve immeasurably by doing the online homework. Right now, she is trying to decide between two paths of study. She’s been interested in architecture for a long time, however, she has been moved by the help she’s received since coming to the U.S. and wants to give back through some kind of service, such as nursing.

They helped me; I want to help them!

Going to School for the First Time

Nazia Rahy

Nazia is from Kabul, Afghanistan. In 2014 she moved to the U.S. due to her and her children’s safety being compromised by the ongoing Taliban war. She was afraid for her children and herself and wanted to provide them with a future and an education that she could not have grown up in Afghanistan. Due to the war, she could not attend school in Afghanistan but always had a passion for learning. Nazia came to Learning For ALL to learn English so she could be more independent. She says that spelling is the most challenging for her since she has never been to school and is illiterate in her native language of Farsi. Nazia has come a very long way since 2014 and is preparing to get her driver’s license. “I feel ready to take the written driver’s license test, now that I can read and write,” she said.

From "Yes" and "No" to Fluent English

Sophia Yang

With an energy like no other, Sophia possesses an exuberant smile and a talkative personality. But that wasn’t always the case. Originally from South Korea, and not knowing any English but ‘yes’ and ‘no,’ Sophia came to the United States in 1982. Despite her struggles with reading and writing in English, Sophia sacrificed her ESL education to work to support her family and herself. Sophia managed to self-teach herself by listening to English words. However, she knew that she needed a stronger foundation. When her friend Ping, another student at Learning For ALL, introduced Sophia to LFA, she knew that this would be an excellent opportunity to learn English from step one. Utilizing LFA’s tutoring and ESL classes, Sophia is now an advanced ESL student who can read young adult books. Now with the skills she needs, Sophia plans on attending college to further her education.

New Professionals in America

Anayeli Zagal

To pursue a better quality of life, Anayeli moved to the U.S. from Mexico two years ago. Back in Mexico, Anayeli was an accountant. She misses her previous occupation and hopes to improve her English skills further to start working as an accountant again here in the U.S. Without any hesitation, Anayeli joined Learning for ALL to improve her English. Despite her busy schedule, balancing two jobs and other academics, Anayeli makes time to attend Evening ESL courses. Her consistent attendance at LFA proves how hardworking and responsible she is about her education. Anayeli expressed her gratitude towards LFA by stating, “I learn a lot in class, my classmates are great, and I know that everyone here is working to help each other.

"It's Never Too Late"

Tom Brown

If you’re ever on the main campus of Learning for ALL, you’re sure to meet Tom Brown. A dedicated student of roughly six years, Tom finished his ABE education with LFA and is studying intensively to earn his GED. He expressed some regrets regarding decisions he’s made in the past, “I never had the best home life, and I fell in with the wrong crowd when I was young.” Tom is an excellent example of how neither age nor background should discourage anyone from working towards their goals. Tom hopes to earn his GED and attend community college to earn an Associate’s degree. After furthering his education, he hopes to incorporate his passions of art and science to pursue a career refurbishing and remodeling art sculptures. “Learning For ALL has opened up a whole new world for me. I’ve gained so much knowledge. I realize there are many people smarter and more able, but I want to inspire other people in the future who are in similar shoes as me to find encouragement through my story. I’m so thankful for the opportunities Learning For ALL has given to me. I have turned my life around!

A Life-Long Learner

Sheila Sadofsky

Sheila Sadofsky is a current Adult Basic Education (ABE) student here at Learning for ALL. Before joining LFA, Shelia received and finished her secondary education and soon entered the workforce but never had the chance to attend to her burning trouble – not being able to understand what she reads. It wasn’t until after her retirement that she resumed pursuing her goal of attaining the skill to comprehend reading materials. Sheila stated, “I finally had the time, so I took this opportunity to tackle what I wanted to accomplish most; I want to be able to love and understand what I read.” Over the course of three years, Shelia has accomplished four grades worth of reading comprehension.

Advanced English in 3 Months

Nilson Nolasco

With a warm and lively spirit, Nilson Nolasco is a friendly face here at Learning for ALL. Before coming to the U.S., Nilson finished his bachelor’s degree and specialized schooling to become a highly qualified bank manager in Maceió, Brazil, where he’s originally from. He worked with people ranging from everyday citizens to large corporations.

Nilson arrived in the U.S. without any prior schooling in English. Yet, within only three months of continuing his education at Learning For ALL with our ESL curriculum, he has gained more confidence in his English-speaking skills and has quickly moved into the Advanced ESL level. Looking back, Nilson states that “pronunciation was very difficult at the beginning, and having people understand me outside of this program was a great challenge.” Nilson hopes to continue making progress in his ESL classes and utilize his gained knowledge to immerse himself further in American culture.

Providing Opportunities

Bowen Zheng

I love it here at Learning For ALL! I learned pronunciation, grammar, and conversation. They offer us a great opportunity to improve our English. Here, I can make more friends, and I can apply what I learn here to further my studies and find a better job.

~Bowen Zheng, LFA ESL Student