WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW WITH BLANCA SUAREZ? Blanca graduated from high school and received a certificate in cosmetology last May. This is an incredible accomplishment for a person who struggled to read when we met her in 2007. Her life continues to be difficult. Her son Gary has had serious personal problems. Blanca has had several decent jobs in cosmetology, but Ecuador’s economy is in recession and jobs have dried up. So she is struggling.
Blanca is our first adult student! She is the mother of two children, Gary and Irlanda, both of whom have studied at the Working Boys’ Center. Blanca is the oldest of eleven children, and the older sister of Gabriela Suárez. When Blanca and her family joined the Center, she told us that she could not read well enough to read her bible. She subsequently made the decision to take adult classes offered at the Center and became one of our best students, with faithful attendance, enthusiasm, and dedication. She can now read and write well, and can produce thoughtful written responses to questions. However, as we taught adult classes, we heard from Blanca and many other women that, even in their mid-thirties, they were considered “too old” to be hired for most unskilled work, since employers preferred to employ young “señoritas.”
Over the years, we stayed in touch with Blanca, and at last year’s DEOF Family Picnic, she told us of her desire to seek further vocational training. She had considered studying to become a nursing assistant, but could not find any programs which would admit her without a high school diploma. Displaying the flexibility which is characteristic and necessary for our students, Blanca then decided to seek out a cosmetology program which would accept her, and with the support of DEOF, began her studies this past March (2013). When we spoke to her in June, she explained that she works as an in-home attendant from 8 am until 1 pm Monday through Friday, and then studies cosmetology from 3 to 6 pm. “When I go to study,” Blanca explained, “I forget all my troubles.” She proudly showed me her notebook, full of “10’s” (the highest grade) and beautifully printed pages of cosmetology essentials. By North American standards, the cost of Blanca’s education is inexpensive: about $75.00 per month for two years of training. This includes tuition, professional “tools of the trade”, and occasional conferences.