Mare’s Story

“I am Mare from Sudan.”

These are among the first words Mare learned when she arrived in Minnesota as a refugee in 2003. Ten years later, a lot has changed. She and her husband now have 3 kids, the youngest of whom starts kindergarten this fall. And while Mare’s been through the back to school routine before, this year will be different. This year, she will be ready to say a whole lot more to her child’s teacher.

Mare first came to the English Learning Center in November last year. She rarely misses a day, walking the 3 short blocks from her home to school. During our most recent end of semester celebration, she proudly received an award for earning one of the top 10 attendance records in the morning program.

When asked how life is different after coming to the ELC, she smiles: “Now it’s better. I like this school. I’m very lucky. All the teachers—they teach me very well. I’m listening but not talking when I came. I do practice now…more, more, more!”

In addition to studying English, Mare takes computer and math classes. She is focused on learning how to type and complete online job applications, so that she can find a weekend job. Her eyes light up as she explains that she just passed level 3 in math and will advance next semester.

Although Mare’s progress so far is remarkable, she remains focused on what is still possible. And first on her list are dreams of further education: “I promise to do my GED. I will try to do it. And maybe I go to college.”