Tucson non-profit, Literacy Connects, opens enrollment for free English language classes

Writing Alphabet on Chalkboard
Posted at 6:58 AM, Mar 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-01 08:58:05-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Learning English is something Rosa Cruz always wanted, but never knew how to accomplish, until learning about Literacy Connects.

"Before, I wasn't able to hear. Now, I feel like I can hear," said Cruz.

Cruz enrolled in Literacy Connects' English Language Acquisition for Adults program in 2018. She had just moved to the United States with dreams of giving her children a better life.

"Before classes, a long time ago, my kids would ask if I wanted to speak in Spanish. Now, they ask me if I want to speak in English. I say yes. They notice that I'm trying my best to learn and to practice," said Cruz.

Cruz is one of 500 students enrolled in Literacy Connects' Spring session. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the non-profit was teaching more than double the number of students that they are now.

"The reasons for that are many. The demand is huge, but our capacity is limited because the classes need to be a lot smaller," said Literacy Connects English Language Program Director, Jennifer Stanowski.

The classes are held over Zoom, which Stanowski has said has challenged some, but opened doors for others.

"People want to learn. They don't want their learning to stop. They have goals, whether it's citizenship, getting a job or being able to help their children with homework. That's a huge one," said Stanowski.

Cruz's children are her number one motivation.

"My children would probably tell you that they are proud of me," said Cruz.

For that reason, she plans to keep learning.

"I really want to be an expert in English. I know that I can do it if I take more classes. I will do it," said Cruz.

Literacy Connects is opening around 100 spots in the English Language Acquisition for Adults program on Monday, March 1 at 9 a.m.