LUCHA Ministries is a group that continues to amaze me with each day that I spend with
them. I started an internship with the ministry at the end of January and to this day I am still
learning more about their community involvement and how they help Latino Immigrants of
every age. LUCHA Ministries is dedicated to helping aid Latino Immigrants in almost every
way. Everyone that I have worked with so far has been so appreciative of the help that they
receive from LUCHA and even the little amount that I have been helping.
After getting to know some of the students it is obvious that they highly value English.
They are learning English in school, where the emphasis is on using only English and no
Spanish, and they mainly speak Spanish at home with their family. When they find out that I
speak Spanish (and love it!) they are always surprised. I’ve been working with students in
kindergarten through their senior year in high school and have gotten the same shocked response
from all ages when they learn that I speak Spanish. One kindergartener had such a hard time
believing that I spoke Spanish and she responded with, “wow, you look like you speak English”.
I have made it one of my goals for this internship to teach them to value their Spanish because it
does hold such value and I hope that I can show them that it really is something cool.
Being in the Spanish major at the University of Mary Washington, I have met many
Latino college students that are in my Spanish classes and several of them have expressed that
they never learned to speak Spanish growing up. This created boundaries between them and
their families—specifically older generations because they never learned English. Reflecting
back on this loss of communication, they regret not focusing more on either retaining their
Spanish fluency or on never learning Spanish. Thinking about the huge divide that this creates
between families, I have made it one of my goals to demonstrate the importance to the students
that I work with to stay bilingual. I know that many of the students recognize the importance,
but I do not want them to become disillusioned and believe that their Spanish is not important or