Tyler Today April/May 2017 : Page 80
Opening Doors for Adults Teresa Glover The Literacy Council of Tyler by Director of Development Juan Araujo Chavez and his family moved to Texas when he was nineteen years old. His family in-cluded his parents and four sisters. A baby brother would later follow once in Texas. Juan had to leave his wife in Mexico until he established residency here. She was pregnant with their first child. It was a hard and frustrating time for Juan and his family, being in a new place, not knowing English, and leaving his pregnant wife back in Mexico. When Juan was in middle school he remembers his dad asking him “Do you want to work on the farm or do you want to go to school?” Juan didn’t have to think twice… his answer was to go to school. So every morning he would wake up at 5:00 AM and do his chores and then ride his bike to another town so he could go to school. He would get home in the afternoon, work on the farm and be home by 8:00 PM. By the time the family had moved to Texas, Juan had the education to be an electronic technician. Once in Texas, Juan established residency and got his work permit. He started working in landscape until they no longer needed him. Juan then started working at a hardware company where his 80 APRIL / MAY 2017 dad worked. Because of his knowledge in electronics, he began helping others solve problems at his job. He would have to use an interpreter since he didn’t know English. His supervisor told him he had great potential and skills, but he needed to learn English. During this time, Juan’s seventeen-year-old sister was a student at John Tyler High School and was struggling because she didn’t know English. She had found out about the Literacy Council and was taking ESL classes. Juan began asking her about it and decided that’s what he should do. He talked to his supervisor about what it would involve as far as missing work and his supervisor totally supported him. Juan went to the Literacy Council and started the ESL classes. He was at the bottom when he started, but advanced quickly. His next goal was to get his GED. Because of his work schedule, he started working on his GED through Distance Learning at LCOT. Juan earned his GED and attended the graduation ceremony in May 2016. Juan also took LCOT’s College Prep Class and is currently enrolled at TJC. His goal is to become an Electrical Engineer. Throughout this time, Juan was not only working at his full time job, improving his English, and earning his GED; he was also working hard to get his wife and son to Texas. He had a lot going on but persevered through it all. He didn’t give up. He and his wife now have a son and daughter and his wife takes part in LCOT’s Family Learning Center at Douglas Elementary. Juan would like to tell everyone that it is never too late to start learning and that it opens up so many doors of opportunity. He would also like to thank everyone who gives to LCOT because without them none of this would have been possible for him to accomplish, especially getting his family together here in Texas.