Education is Power

Sometimes people can take for granted the simplest things in life, such as a basic education which for many people today is part of his or her life from a very young age. Reading and writing are part of the foundations of a person´s life path.

For Maria Leonor Gomez Franco, being able to read signs on the streets or writing her own name were basic things that she never had the chance to learn. Maria Leonor moved to Florida from Mexico ten years ago, and it was not until the past three years that she was able to begin her first class.


Maria Leonor Gomez Franco receiving her primary diploma from Mexico ´s Consul in Miami Juan Miguel Gutierrez Tinoco at RCMA´s graduation.  (Photo: Constanza Gallardo)

On November 3, 2012 Maria received the “Education for Adults for Illiteracy” diploma at Redlands Christian Migrants after finishing her elementary courses and graduating at 63 years old; she can now write her name among other things, and she is determined to continue her education until the last step.

“Thank God our teacher has had a lot of patience with us, and so we are still here fighting until the end. My next goal is continuing my education and graduating from Middle School,” says Maria.

However, Maria is not the only adult graduating from such courses, there are several Hispanic immigrants who are now living in South Florida and have not had the opportunity to start or continue their education. RCMA gives any immigrant who does not have the economic advantages as others to come into a classroom and learn from reading and writing both in Spanish and English, to math and computer skills.


Students pose next to for graduation photo with RCMA´s Homestead director, Lupia Chow. (Photo: Constanza Gallardo)

Opened since 2004, RCMA has had three graduations where many adults have overcome their goals for a better future; first started with just classes for illiteracy and now range from computer science courses to math and mechanical workshops.

“We try to cover everything that can improve our community in order for them to cease their potential and develop a better education rather than just working in the fields,” says Lupita Chow, the director of RCMA in Homestead.

All diplomas are certified by Mexico´s Secretary of Public Education; therefore, they are all official documents which are proof that the students passed all 12 courses and final exams.

“Most of the people who come to us start learning the vocals; most of them didn´t know how to write or read. Age does not matter here, what matter is the work they put into,” says Chow about her students from the center. “It is never too late to start.”

Since RCMA is a non-lucrative organization, it has zero budgets to work from so all of the professors are volunteers from the area that are willing to add their knowledge to their community.

Karla Cuello is a new English volunteer professor at the center who has just moved from Mexico as well, “It is incredible to see how the student changes completely from the beginning of the class to the time they graduate.”

Cuello encourages other individuals to come join the program and use his or her knowledge for others.

“Every time I get out of class, I walk out with a smile on my face” Cuello adds.

RCMA receives help from Mexico´s Consulate in Miami by promoting the program and funding through IME-Becas.

“RCMA´s Homestead program is one of the best examples from the organization,” elaborates Mexico ´s Consul in Miami Juan Miguel Gutierrez Tinoco. “They have a very enthusiastic team who opened new courses and academic disciplines. This program is a great resource for the community.”

Therefore, RCMA wants to promote their free courses among Homestead and close-by communities. Their drive is to encourage people to become involved so more opportunities can be given to those that show the initiative to improve their lives.


Juan Carlos Villeda receiving his diploma at the graduation. (Photo: Constanza Gallardo)  

Juan Carlos Villeda is another graduate from RCMA, he works in the fields every day, but with the help from Lupita Chow and other professors he graduated from elementary.

“RCMA has helped us so much that there are no words as to how I can thank them for everything they are doing for us” Juan Carlos said.

Juan Carlos is now continuing his education and starting middle school courses.

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