Like so many of the almost 17,000 people served by Interfaith Works each year, Margaret had a dream: to be an educator in the United States. Through persistence and help from Interfaith Works, she achieved it.
Margaret first joined forces with the Interfaith Works Vocational Services Program in February 2016, referred by Interfaith Works’ Project Inform program, which connects low-income Montgomery County residents with essential resources and services. Margaret was a new mother and had recently arrived in the United States from El Salvador.
In her home country, Margaret had been a school teacher and was determined to obtain a teaching position in U.S. To meet her goal, Margaret enrolled in and completed the 90-Hour Early Education Certification program at Montgomery College with the help of an Interfaith Works scholarship.
She worked with Vocational Counselor Daisy to create a resume and cover letters to best reflect her education and experience. Within a few months, Margaret was invited for interviews at several area preschools but she didn’t receive any job offers. Her limited English proficiency was holding her back.
While she was discouraged, the experience helped her realize becoming more proficient in both spoken and written English would be a key to success. She enrolled in English classes at Montgomery College through the Workforce Development and Continuing Education Program. Interfaith Works assisted Margaret with the tuition for the additional classes required for her to earn a Child Development Associate Certificate, which she pursued at Montgomery College. She found a part-time position at a Gaithersburg preschool but was not satisfied with the limited hours because she needed more income to help support her family.
She kept looking for full-time work with the help of the Interfaith Works Vocational Services Program. In the fall, Margaret was called by a Twinbrook daycare center seeking a full-time teacher. Margaret practiced interviewing with a vocational volunteer, who had worked with her before and complimented Margaret on her noticeably improved English skills.
She successfully interviewed and was offered the job. Margaret is now happily working 40 hours a week as a lead teacher. Her success also is ensuring others have a chance to achieve their dreams too. Margaret was able to repay Interfaith Works 25 percent of the amount she had received as a scholarship so now others in the program will be able to take advantage of the scholarship funds as well.