OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — In the past five years, Patricia Paniagua says she’s done so much her children can be proud of through the help of a place she now calls a second home: Learning Community Center of South Omaha.
Having come from Guatemala, she was struggling with her English when she got to Omaha, and was finding it was creating barriers for her to be involved in her children’s education.
“I was feeling frustrated for the lack of communication that I was having with people," Paniagua said.
Her daughter’s teacher connected her with the learning community center, and now she’s not only become fluent in English, but she’s gained confidence through the workforce development program.
For two years she’s been working at One World Community Health, something she says is possible because of the program.
“I really love my job," Paniagua said. "I feel so blessed. I feel so happy.”
Her son Jeremy Gonzalez, who is now in second grade, was going to the programs alongside his mom. This is part of the Learning Community's 2-Gen Model, which they say increases success for children and parents.
Jeremy says he was already happy with his mom and his home, but says:
“Now that I know some stuff, I can be even happy even more."
On Friday, Paniagua was one of several parents graduating from the English as a Second Language program.
Her daughter Allison Gonzalez was in the crowd, cheering on her mom.
“I’m really proud of my mom, because she’s learned a lot, and she’s just a really great mom," Allison said.
Paniagua is on her next step in the journey and is getting her GED through the center. She recommends the programs to anyone who may be struggling to adapt to an English-speaking community.
"It's amazing," Paniagua said. "I always say, 'you guys are my family, you guys are my second home'. It's been a long journey with them, and I'm still with them. I'm still learning, and I feel so grateful with each one of them."