In 2017 hurricane Maria hit down in Puerto Rico leaving families with nothing. Many were forced to seek refuge in the United States with family and friends. One of those families, a mother Anaeli and her two sons Luis and Juan, came to Lorain.
Starting over was not easy. They had to learn a new language, the kids had to start a new school, and Anaeli had to find new job. Early on they were connected to El Centro and were able to receive many resources that helped them during this life-changing journey.
A main focus of Anaeli were her children, particularly Luis. Luis spoke little English and was struggling with the transition and was eventually put on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) in school because of the language barrier. Anaeli was concerned as summer rolled around and she wanted Luis to continue his learning.
One day, Monica Snipes, Project Director of United Way's 231Go! Community Collaborative, spoke to a class Anaeli was attending at El Centro. Monica shared all of the upcoming summer programs and activities they had planned for middle school students. Anaeli was instantly engaged and interested in all they could offer.
Anaeli enrolled Luis in 231Go!’s summer program 'Discover You' Workshops. Discover You Workshops, provided fun educational activities all summer long, including science experiments, future career explorations, physical fitness opportunities, and creative arts.
Anaeli got a job, and during the summer time, was comforted knowing Luis was safely getting to and from the workshops with the free transportation provided by 231Go! Anaeli instantly started seeing changes in Luis. He was making new friends, was becoming more confident, and was able to keep practicing his English in a fun environment.
Since Luis joined 231Go!, Anaeli herself has become very involved within the collaborative. She is an advocate for making programming more inclusive for everyone, including bilingual speakers.
Monica says Anaeli calls all the time wondering what she can sign Luis up for next, as he can't wait for the next adventure.