Student Spotlight: Sandra Corado

Sandra Corado, mother of three, and a widow who lost her husband in a fatal car accident, struggled to get by in Guatemala—a country ravaged by civil war, drug cartels, extreme poverty, and human rights violations, primarily against women. Chronic social problems and an inadequate educational system virtually guaranteed a life of poverty for the Corado family. In a culture where women typically do not work outside of the home, Sandra was forced to confront the challenge of providing for her young family without any job skills or experience. Employment prospects in Guatemala were grim, but she was determined to build a brighter future for herself and her children.

At the urging of a brother who had already migrated to the United States, Sandra came to America in 2003, making the difficult decision to leave her children behind in Guatemala. With the hope and promise of freedom, and a world of new opportunities open to her to support her family, Sandra moved to Northern Virginia, learned to drive, and found a good, stable job at IHOP, where she has worked for seven years.

Shortly after arriving in the U.S., Sandra remarried. Realizing the advantages that came with understanding and speaking English, her new husband encouraged her to enroll in ESOL classes. Sandra took his advice, signing up for BEACON’s Low Beginner ESOL classes. After three years, and hours of study and practice, Sandra’s manager at IHOP noticed how well she was speaking English and promoted her from kitchen worker to waitress—a job she loves.

Now an Advanced Level student at BEACON, Sandra says:

“BEACON has helped me in so many ways. By making classes affordable, they have opened a whole new world for me. Being able to practice my English at work has helped me develop confidence when speaking with customers.”

That confidence has impacted her personal life as well. “It was difficult for me to communicate with my doctor, but now I am able to understand everything he tells me!”

As she continues her journey with BEACON, Sandra says she is grateful for the help and support she’s received from volunteers, and for the tools she has been given to improve her English language skills. Sandra’s is a story of success through hard work, and she cherishes her life full of possibilities. “Even though I continue to send money back to Guatemala to support my children, every year I get to go back to see my them, my family and friends!”