Gabriela works for LEAP of Noble County in Albion. She helps at the learning center there on Monday nights with translation, interpretations, and tutoring school age children. On Tuesday and Wednesday she is an Assistant at the Ligonier United Methodist church helping with a Family Literacy program. Thursday she is at Templo Betel church in Ligonier helping with another Family Literacy program. Saturday morning she is at St. Patricks church in Ligonier helping in the childcare room. “I wish she was employee we could hire full-time here at the LEAP office. She is very hard working, dependable, and works extremely well with the Hispanics and people from a variety of cultures. She has help make our ESL(English as a Second Language) classes stronger.” Said Matt Bell, executive director of LEAP of Noble County. “ I think that the program Experiencias de La Vida is a great opportunity for me and my friends in the program. So far I have learned a lot of things like knowing how to work in an office, taking care of the kids, and helping other people on the ESL and GED classes. I really like my job it has been a pleasure meeting and knowing Matt, Becky, Deanne, Laura, Nancy, Melinda and all the LEAP staff. I’ll never forget this, it has been a great experience.” Said Gabriela Ruvalcaba.

Aris works at Northeastern Center in Ligonier as an Administrative Assistant. She performs general office duties, which include filing, typing, intakes, answering phones, translation, and interpretations. “She is a great asset to have in our institution as bilingual employee. We can offer better service to the community.” Said Gilberto Perez, a case worker for the Northeastern Center. “I like working at the Northeastern center for my first job. It is a good experience for me and I can learn a lot from it. The people here are friendly and nice to work for. After high school I will be attending Ivy Tech in Fort Wayne and I will be studying some business and culinary arts classes.” Said Aris Macias.

Jose works at E.T. Auto and Radio Shack in Ligonier. “The Experiencias de La Vida program is a good program for which it was set up. It is a good help for the community and Jose is very helpful to us. We are very happy with him.” Said Dave Smith who is co-owner of E.T. Auto parts and Radio Shack. Jose said, “ I think this is a fun and educational program. I am learning a lot of interesting things at work.”

Crystal works at the Noble County Community Foundation in Ligonier. “Crystal is a great help to the NCCF. She brings a lot to the office. The Experiencias de La Vida program has the potential to be an outstanding learning tool for business and students in the Noble County area.” Said Beth Munk, Celebrate Diversity Project Coordinator. Crystal says, “ I feel good about working at the NCCF. It has helped me learn a lot about the community foundation itself. It has also helped me build my communication, translation, and interpretation skills.”

Monica works at the Noble House in Albion. “I think this program is a great help to the Hispanics. It is opening the doors for us. I feel this is a good experience for me and I have been learning a lot. This program has given me more skills and has helped me to learn how to prepare for a professional job.” Said Monica Lopéz. Valerie Hague, executive director of the Noble House in Albion, states “ The program has been a wonderful experience for Noble House

Irene works at LEAP of Noble County in Albion. On Mondays and Wednesdays Irene helps out at the Kendallville Public Library as a teacher’s assistant for the LEAP office. She has a good relationship with the students there, and is in charge of small groups. Tuesdays and Thursdays she works at the LEAP Learning Center there in Albion helping with translations, interpretations, and tutoring school age children “Very quickly after she started helping out at the Kendallville Public Library the instructor had good reviews about her. She has helped to bridge gaps for LEAP. She is very flexible and willing to work at different sites when asked.” Said Matt Bell, executive director of LEAP. “I like working at LEAP because I can help people in my community learn more English. It makes me feel really good when they come back class after class and they remember what I taught them in class the last time we met. The people at LEAP are nice to work for and they make me feel welcome.” Said Irene Benavides.

Maria works for the Advance-Leader newspaper in Ligonier. “Maria has been a pleasure to work with. This program adds a whole new dimension to our businesses. The Experiencias de La Vida program is a great project for both the business and students. I encourage more businesses to take advantage of this program.” Said Bob Buttgen, editor of the Advance-Leader. “ I feel that the Experiencias de La Vida is a very good program that gives us as students an opportunity to better ourselves. I really like my job and think this is a great opportunity for me and I’ve learned a lot from working here.” Said Maria Aza.

Damaris works for Sue Wigent who is a Mary Kay consultant. Damaris does all of the office clerical work, she also does inventories, shelf stocking, translations, interpretations, and phone answering. “ I think this is an awesome program especially in this area. Damaris’ has been a great help to me and has helped me better serve my Hispanic clients. She is a hard working and very dependable.” Said Sue Wigent.

“I feel that the Experiencias de La Vida program is a great opportunity not only for the students but for the businesses as well. The students are learning about portfolios, interviewing, resumes, and various cultural diversity issues. The most exciting part of this program is that it is centered on leading these youth in a direction that has helped them grow and help the Hispanic community grow. I have enjoyed working with these students and have seen the fruits of their labor. The purpose of the program was to encourage the Hispanic students to want to seek more education after high school. I can honestly say that of the four seniors we have in the program now all four are enrolling into college. I am very proud of this program and am in the process of getting more students involved.” Margarita White • Experiencias de La Vida Coordinator