How two months can change a life

By John Hall

PEÑITAS, Texas – Lorena Reyes was a bit reticent to speak English. Though she’s significantly better than she led others to believe, she remained reluctant to use it.

A few months changed all that. But Reyes expected no less.

At the Buckner Family Hope Center, Reyes proved to be a fast learner. Reyes started in a sewing class, learning basic needlework and building her skill set. She moved on to more advanced work creating bags and wallets, which she and other women sell through the Hope Center to earn extra money for their families.

Two months later, she started teaching the basic sewing class she once took, helping others who once were with her.

“When I came to the sewing program, I didn’t know anything,” she said. “In two months, I learned it. I’m hoping to do the same thing with the English class.”

Reyes works hard at her English skills, taking classes on the computer at the Hope Center. Her English has already improved greatly, but she wants to do even better. She has two sons – one 6 and another 12 – whom she wants to help with their homework.

Already, she’s seen progress.

“I can help a little,” she said humbly. “I get out a dictionary for the words I don’t know, but I can help.”

Hope Center Case Manager Gabriel Flores said Reyes undersells her ability. Her English has improved tremendously, and she’s able to comfortably hold conversations in the language. Her growth is an inspiration to the community.

“Lorena is a vibrant leader among our clients,” Flores said. “It’s great to see other clients see her as a leader and respect her.”

Reyes believes the key to a better life for her children is education. Like every good mother, she wants her children to succeed more than she has. The after-school program and various initiatives of the Hope Center help make that possible.

“Everything Buckner does is for kids,” she said. “We don’t want our kids to grow up like we did. Because you give, our children have an opportunity for something better.”

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