Maria Felix Covarrubias, from Monterey, Mexico, is the mother of three beautiful children aged 6, 12 and 17 years. And while she always seems to be smiling and full of life, she has not had an easy path.

Maria has struggled to learn English. Initially, her lack of confidence in the language prohibited her from participating in school activities, talking with teachers and doctors, and navigating everyday life. She realized that in order to better herself and her family she needed to improve her language skills, so she registered for an ESL class at Wilkinson Center’s Family Education Center. Her ambition and enthusiasm allowed her to step outside her comfort zone and apply herself. She made such great progress that she stayed in the ESL Level 1 class for only one semester before being advanced to the next level!

It took a lot of patience, practice and motivation from her family, but today Maria is more confident in her ability to communicate effectively with others. She volunteers at her son’s school — in the regular programs now, not just the bilingual ones. She is helping her daughter, Sofia, learn English with the help of materials from the Wilkinson Center ESL class and is excited that she can read her Bible in English now. As she told a group of Wilkinson Center volunteers, “The Bible says it is better to give than to receive. I want to thank Wilkinson Center and my teacher, Jaqueline, for all I have received!”