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Student Spotlights

Meet Mabelle

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Spotlight on Mabelle

A former LVSC student, Mabelle is now a library assistant at Somerset County Library System NJ's Bound Brook branch!

Things did not go as expected for Mabelle when she arrived in the United States from Paraguay in 2002.  Mabelle did not expect to find a college classmate living here and fall in love with him. She did not expect to be married a year later, and then nine months later, to have her first child!

In Paraguay, she had a degree in Business Administration. Here Mabelle was unable to work or communicate with her neighbors. For four years, she felt stuck at home, isolated without a car, and frustrated. She was so eager to learn, to be a part of the community, to talk with the other mothers in the park, and to make friends.

I don’t know how I survived because the first years were very depressing.

To try to help herself, she spent her time at the library's Bound Brook branch, always searching for free resources to help her learn English. That is where she discovered Literacy Volunteers of Somerset County (LVSC) – and was able to begin taking free English classes. Most exciting for Mabelle, her LVSC teacher helped her get a library card.

Mabelle never gave up. She continued to try to use every available resource. She continued to push herself. "That’s what I still do. I try to push myself to learn something new every day."

She was always at the Bound Brook branch trying to improve herself and one day, the circulation supervisor told her about a library position that she would be perfect for. They needed someone to help customers who spoke Spanish.

Now, Mabelle is the proud mother of four children and works as a library assistant in the adult services department of the Bound Brook branch. She is happy to be able to help others to acclimate to the United States by learning English. She is teaching a class on using Mango Languages, an online program for adults and children for learning English. She especially loves seeing LVSC tutors and students working together at the library – it reminds her of how she started out.

Her advice to others just coming to the United States:

Nothing comes for free. There is no magical resource. You have to work hard and push yourself every day.

Mabelle is grateful to LVSC and the Bound Brook branch. It was a combination of their assistance - and Mabelle’s own determined spirit - that helped her to learn English, get a job, and make a difference in her community.