Student Stories

A Spirit of Service

Mi Sun Kim

Mi Sun Kim is originally from South Korea and moved here with her Husband and kids in January 2020.   Her husband came here to complete a year at University of Nebraska in Omaha.  Back in South Korea, Mi Sun taught Korean to foreign students.  How fitting that she would then become a student at 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 the pre-pandemic times.  The comradery of the classroom environment provided many learning experiences and opportunities to practice English with other students.  She still was a little nervous at classes, though, as you have to be on your game to carry a conversation in a language you are still mastering.  Mi Sun has found that the online classes have cured her nervousness.  She can take more time to think about and formulate her responses.  It is also a big relief to have the option to continue learning while keeping her family safe during the pandemic.  When the Kim family goes back 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!

"They Gave Me My Confidence Back"

Stephanie West

Originally from Ft Worth, Texas, Stephanie overcame a turbulent past and decided to create a better life for herself in Omaha.  Deciding to get on the path by getting a GED, she found LFA classes were open for her to begin immediately.  Stephanie pushed herself through classwork with determination, but no 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 to 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, this will allow her to work and care for her son.  They can finally have the life they deserve.

"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 States in 2013.  She wanted more freedom for herself, and a better education for her children.  She found these things, but also struggled with speaking and understanding English.  Then, a work colleague shared their experience improving their English skills at LFA.  Parika signed up and has recently been taking online classes because of the pandemic.  She finds that they have helped her balance studies and family life.  With no commute, she can spend more time on homework and working with the teacher.  Parika strongly feels that she has benefited from the one-on-one tutoring at LFA.  She has seen her English skills improve measurably through 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, Parika has been moved by the help she’s received since coming to the States 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 her and her children’s safety being compromised with the ongoing Taliban war.  She was afraid for her children and herself and wanted to provide them with a future and education that she was unable to have growing up.  Due to the Taliban war Nazia was unable to attend school in Afghanistan but always held on to her passion for learning.  Nazia came to LFA to learn English so that 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, Farsi.  Nazia has come a very long way since 2014, she is currently preparing to get her driver’s license.  She said, “I feel ready to take the written driver’s license test, now that I (have been) practicing reading and writing.”

"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 the struggles that she had 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. Thus, when her friend Ping, who is also another student of LFA, introduced Sophia to LFA, she knew that this would be a great opportunity to learn English from step one. Utilizing LFA’s tutoring and ESL classes, Sophia is now an advanced ESL student who can now 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

In order 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 further improve her English skills 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 the 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 are ever here on the main campus of Learning for All, you are surely to meet Tom Brown! A dedicated student of roughly six years, Tom has finished his ABE education and is currently studying very intensively to attain his GED. He expressed some regrets regarding decisions he made in the past, “I never had the best home life and I fell in with the wrong crowd when I was young.” Despite his past, Tom is a great example of how age nor background should discourage anyone from working towards their goal. Tom hopes to pass and receive his GED certificate so that he can attend a community college to earn an Associate’s degree. After furthering his education, he hopes to incorporate art and science to pursue a career where he can refurbish and remodel art sculptures. Tom wanted to make a last statement revealing that, “LFA has opened a whole different world for me. I gained so much knowledge and realized that there are so many people that are smarter and more able. I want to be able to be someone another person in the future, who are in similar shoes as me, to find encouragement through my story. I am so thankful for the opportunities that LFA has given me, I have turned my life around.”

Life Long Learner

Sheila Sadofsky

Sheila Sadofsky is a current Adult Basic Education (ABE) student here at Learning for All (LFA). Before joining LFA, Shelia received and finished her secondary education and soon after entered the workforce and 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 down 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 been able to accomplish 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 States, Nilson finished his bachelor’s degree and specialized schooling to become a highly qualified bank manager in Maceió, Brazil where he is originally from. He worked with people ranging from common citizens all the way to large corporations.

Nilson arrived in the States recently without any prior schooling in English, yet within only three months of continuing his education with the ESL curriculum here at Learning for ALL, he has gained more confidence in his English-speaking skills and has zoomed all the way up to 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 the knowledge that he has gained to immerse himself in American culture.

Providing Opportunities

Bowen Zheng

“I like (it) here! I learn pronunciation, grammar, and conversation.  They offer (us) a good opportunity to improve our English… Here, I can make more friends, and I can apply what I learn here to further studies and find a better job.”

                     ~Bowen Zheng, Evening ESL Student