After hearing many immigrant stories, some people might think that they all sound the same, they come escaping hardships looking for better lives for themselves and their children. The goal might be the same, but each story is a unique story of personal achievement, personal success in an unfamiliar country, a story of hardworking people who came for a dream and achieve everything they dreamed of and sometimes more than that. Laura Moreno’s story is an immigrant’s story of personal successes and achievements.
Ms. Moreno was born and raised in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. At the age of 19, while studying at the University of Ciudad Juarez she made a decision to uproot her whole life and start anew. She dropped out of the University in Mexico and moved to Sterling, IL.
“[I did this] to get away from the violent situation in the city and to join my immediate relatives who had been living in the area for a few years,” she explained reasons for her decision to stop her studies in the University and to move to an unfamiliar country.
When Ms. Moreno made it to Sterling, IL she realized that her English language skills were very limited. She knew well that in order to reach her full potential in the United States, she had to improve her language skills, that is why she started to go to ESL (English as a Second Language) classes through the Adult Education Program offered by Sauk Valley Community College.
“I worked with instructors like Sherry Dimming to develop my skills and gain confidence to continue with my studies,” Laura Moreno shared. “A few months later I started working on my GED within the same program while I continued to attend the ESL classes.”
Although it was hard at times to study in a different language, but she did not stop or gave up. After getting her GED diploma in 2012 she decided to continue with her education by taking classes in Sauk Valley Community College. While attending college she met the love of her life, got married, had a beautiful daughter and even became a volunteer for Project Vital, an Adult Literacy Program.
“While still a Sauk student and had many personal obligations, I decided to give back to the community by becoming a volunteer tutor for Project Vital,” Ms. Moreno told us. “I was a volunteer in the same ESL classes that I attended when I first moved to this country. I enjoyed helping and encouraging all the students who were starting at the same level as I was when I attended those classes.”
Having a family, going to school and volunteering is hard work, but Ms. Moreno held her head high and continued her journey towards her personal achievements. In 2015 she graduated from Sauk Valley Community College and transferred to Western Illinois University.
“The journey of speaking English as a second language, having to take care of my family, and working part-time while being a full-time student was not easy, but I still was able to make my dreams possible” Ms. Moreno shared.
After a couple of grueling years of hard work towards her degree, Laura Moreno finally graduated from Western Illinois University with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management. Her hard work paid off and right after graduating she was hired as Adult Literacy Coordinator in Sauk Valley Community College.
“I enjoy running the program that helps people who need to improve their English reading, writing and speaking skills as well as get prepared for their citizenship process,” Laura Moreno spoke with enthusiasm about how much she loves her job.
As to her own citizenship, Ms. Moreno explained that she started her citizenship process last year and it is thanks to her personal experience through this process that she makes a great guide to others who are going through it as well.
“I became an American Citizen on March 12, 2019,” Laura Moreno proudly stated. “I am very proud and grateful for all the opportunities that I obtained in the USA.”
While grateful for help in her journey towards her personal successful achievement, Laura Moreno also believes it is important to give back to the country that has given her such a great opportunity in life.
“I plan to continue to contribute to the society that has helped me,” Ms. Moreno talked of her plans for the future. “I always encourage all the people to not stop working on their goals. There may be many challenges in the way, but everything is achievable if you work hard.”
Every immigrant has a story. While similar, they are also very different because each tells a story of overcoming adversity through resiliency. Hard work towards the American dream pays off for many immigrants, that is why they keep on trying until they reach the top and then they give a hand to others like them.