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Winner of Literacy Center of West Michigan's 2016 Spellebration shares her message

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Silvia Guzman was the learner speaker at the Literacy Center of West Michigan's 2016 Spellebration. Here is her speech.

/Eric Tank

How you can join the Literacy Center!

If you are interested in becoming a learner like Silvia or a tutor like Michelle, contact the Literacy Center of West Michigan through or call 616-459-5151. 

/Eric Tank

My name is Silvia Guzman and I am from Mexico. I'm married and have five children. Three are living with me and two are in Mexico.

When I came to the Literacy Center I set for myself three major goals, to obtain the skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking/conversation in English, to become a United States citizen and to obtain my driver's license.

On March 29, 2016 I took my citizenship test, passed it and was sworn in as a US citizen. My tutor has worked with me for two years on this, thank you. At the present time my tutor and I are working on obtaining a driver's license. My son takes me out to practice on the road and my tutor helps me with the laws and identification of road signs.

After I had my interview with the Literacy Center and I was paired up with my tutor, my family life changed. My son was here just five weeks from Mexico; he had a terrible accident in Lake Michigan. He broke his neck and is paralyzed from the neck down. He spent several days in a hospital then to Mary Free Bed Hospital for several weeks.

When I was up at the hospital, I needed to listen, speak and understand what those doctors were saying. Now that he is at home, someone must be with him 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

I am thankful for my tutor, Michelle who meets with me every Saturday morning for two hours or more. Some of the extra things Michelle brings to our time together are: talking on the telephone with a salesman, reading aloud and having it recorded, then listen to see if you can understand it, reading the Michigan map, reading the mileage from city to city, finding a city, finding Michelle's vacation spot and how many miles did Michelle travel in Michigan. Sometimes we go out for lunch and coffee and always practice conversation. I went shopping and used coupons for the first time.

I went to the farmers market and saw fruits and vegetables that I didn't know what they were. I bought a squash fixed it for my family and it was delicious.

Thank you to the Literacy Center. Thank you Michelle for your patience and time you have given me, I am thankful.

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