Liliana Huerta: Grateful for those who GIVE to Aberg Center

                          Liliana and her son Mateo at St. Matthew's Cathedral

                         Liliana and her son Mateo at St. Matthew's Cathedral

The “American Dream” ideology is a notion that resonates worldwide.  This concept of prosperity and upward mobility for families and communities is what attracts so many people to this country.  Hoping that hard work and determination will allot them the life they’ve always wanted.

Aberg Center student, Liliana Huerta is going for her “American Dream” with those very aspirations in mind.

Born in Guanajuato, Mexico, Liliana was 1 of 8 siblings growing up.  The long distance from schools and economic hardships prevented her from getting the education she needed.  “I worked in my mother’s clothing store to help support our family so there wasn’t a lot of learning time.” recalled Liliana.  She knew if she wanted to fulfill her dreams, she would have to take a big step, leave her home and seek an education in the United States.

Liliana arrived in the U.S. at age 21, unsure but resilient.  She knew that learning to read and speak English would help her odds of future success tremendously.  She also knew that there was little chance of finding a learning facility where she could afford tuition for classes.  A friend recommended her to a nonprofit that specialized in literacy programs and learning the English language with no tuition fees.  Liliana’s decision to take classes at Aberg Center would change the course of her future forever.

Liliana signed up for English classes and was very nervous after her first day.  “I was shy and in a new place…” Liliana remembers.  But more importantly, she believed in herself and knew that Aberg Center had provided her with the opportunity to learn in a healthy, inclusive environment. 

Fast forward to 2017 and Liliana is thriving!  She is currently enrolled in the ESL Level 5 class and also has her youngest son, Mateo, enrolled in the Early Childhood Program.  She has done so well in her studies that she was able to take and pass the citizenship test in English and is now a United States citizen!  Her next goal is to become a high school graduate by acquiring her GED. She still travels home every Christmas to see her family and show them how far she has come.

“I miss the food and the culture back home, but I’m glad I can go back and visit every year.” she says.

Liliana credits Aberg Center for helping her to provide for herself and her family.  “Helping others succeed is what Aberg Center does.  They took me in, changed my life and can help so many people with their literacy programs.” she says. 

Liliana hopes to pursue a career as a dental assistant when she finishes her studies. Her current and future achievements are examples of why Aberg Center for Literacy will continue its mission of building richer lives, stronger families and better communities.

On #GivingTuesday, everyone can have an impact!  Join us on 11/28 by giving to Aberg Center!

 

8th Annual Legacy of Literacy Breakfast

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Belo Mansion was abuzz last Thursday morning as Aberg Center took center stage for its 8th annual Legacy of Literacy breakfast.  This breakfast celebrates the hard work and determination of the many individuals that contribute their time and money to the continued growth and success of Aberg Center.  This year is especially significant as we celebrate our 15th year of service in the DFW area.

Anna de Haro, Public Affairs Director at iHeartMedia, graciously hosted the breakfast and Victoria Neave, attorney and Texas State Representative, was the keynoter speaker.  Todd Williams, a longtime public education advocate in the Dallas area, received the Aberg Literacy Advocate Award and we also recognized past board presidents Charles Aberg, Becky Clontz, Janet Schoenecker, Holly Greef, and Mary Carter for their years of service and leadership to Aberg Center.

Our student speakers were uniquely effective as they spoke about the direct impact the programs at Aberg Center have had on their lives.  Curtis Major spoke about his struggles to finish his education after many setbacks and how he is now closer than ever to becoming a high school graduate.  Student speaker, Marta Velazquez, expressed her gratitude to Aberg Center for helping in her pursuit to one day become a school teacher and for allowing her to play a more active role in the education of her children.

Celebrations of dedicated service and stories of resilience and determination made for an interesting start to the day.  Aberg Center also started a matching funds challenge following the breakfast to help us continue our mission of building richer lives, stronger families, and better communities.  We want to thank our co-chairs, sponsors, donors, host committee, board members, staff and volunteers for making the 2017 Legacy of Literacy breakfast a smashing success!

About Matching Funds Challenge: 

The Aberg Center has a generous commitment of $12,000 in matching funds, and you can help turn it into $24,000. For every donation up to $12,000 that the Aberg Center receives by Friday, November 3rd, gifts will be matched dollar for dollar!  Click the button below to support adult and family literacy programs that build richer lives, stronger families, and better communities.

 

 

 

Aberg Center for Literacy Receives $10,000 Grant from the Orix Foundation

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On October 17, 2017, Aberg Center for Literacy was awarded the Orix Foundation Grant. This grant goes towards expanding family literacy programs and early childhood program staff.

Aberg Center for Literacy has made many strides this past year to expand its programs at the Casa Linda location in order to greatly increase the number of families served. However, further expansion is necessary to meet the growing needs of Dallas families.  The Orix Foundation grant will help get us that much closer to our goal of building richer lives, stronger families and better communities.

About the Orix Foundation

The Orix Foundation is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities, and improving lives.  The Orix Foundation wants children and families to succeed - in school, in the workforce, in life.

The company’s former CEO started a committee to investigate how the company could best contribute to charitable causes, and the ORIX Foundation was born in 2009. This is an employee-driven venture philanthropy that is focused on the communities where ORIX employees live and do business. The city of Dallas and the Dallas metropolitan area are at the heart of this grantmaking.

Through its charitable giving program, ORIX has awarded over $8.2 million to charities, specifically ones that promote the health, welfare, and education of children, families, military personnel and veterans. In a recent year it gave out at least $2.1 million in 18 grants to nonprofits. This is a good foundation to get in touch with for basic services like food, shelter and medical attention. It’s also a big supporter of local education. Grantmaking has been on the rise in recent years.

.For more information visit:  http://orixfoundation.org/

(Source: www.orixfoundation.org)

Performer Joaquín Zihuatanejo Reflects on Literacy in Motion

 
 

World Slam Poetry Champion and Dallas native Joaquín Zihuatanejo was one of the key contributes to Literacy in Motion, both on stage and behind the scenes where he organized the Aberg Center for Literacy Youth Poetry Contest and worked with event planners to put together the spectacular event. 

Days later, the Zihuantenejo reflected on the amazing experience sharing the stage with the best of the Dallas poetry scene, the up-and-coming young literaries, and of course the U.S. Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera.

Here is an excerpt from his blog post on the experience:

Perhaps the highlight of the entire night for me was when JFH preparing to take the stage for his one hour feature said to me backstage minutes before he was scheduled to walk onstage, “Joaquin, there’s a second voice in one of the poems I want to read tonight, will you join me in the poem on stage?” I could not believe. As I said an emphatic “yes” to him I remember thinking to myself, so many years ago I was a skinny mocoso from the barrio with a curse word for the world...how did I get this beauty full life.

The entire reflection, titled "We Gathered in a Flourishing Way" after a Juan Felipe Herrera poem, can be read READ HERE