Local company supports Providence in the Desert student
Burrtec Waste Management and Recycling, which serves southern California, is providing an educational opportunity to a Thermal resident.
Beginning in August, Burrtec is subsidizing Martha Langarica to attend intensive English classes at the Adult School in Coachella.
Martha, 41, arrived in the United States from Mexico 25 years ago. For two decades she worked in the fields, in a date packaging plant and in housekeeping. But despite living in the United States for more than 20 years, she still did not speak English.
“I didn’t have an opportunity to learn English. When I worked in the fields, I didn’t try to speak English. I had no opportunity to speak it,” Martha said.
Then, about five years ago, Providence in the Desert became a part of Martha’s life and changed it forever.
Providence in the Desert, a ministry of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind. and a program of Guerin Outreach Ministries, is beginning its ninth year of ministry to immigrants living in the isolated regions of the eastern Coachella Valley, teaching English in homes in numerous small trailer parks and teaching music in two area elementary schools.
After her long days in the fields, Martha and others like her would meet with Sister Carol Nolan, SP, founder of Providence in the Desert, or other Providence in the Desert staff members to begin learning English.
Sister Carol saw Martha’s great potential for teaching and administration. In Sept. 2009 she asked Martha to begin teaching an introductory English class at the Desert Mobile Home Park (“Duroville”)
“I personally think she has a mind like a steel trap,” Sister Carol said.
Martha has continued to learn and shine. Two years ago she passed the test and became a citizen of the United States.
The staff at Providence in the Desert wanted Martha to reach her full potential. They saw that to do so, she would need intensive English classes such as those provided at the Adult School in Coachella. The obstacle in the way was that Martha could not afford to give up time at her job to attend the classes.
That’s where Burrtec stepped in. Tracy Burr, owner of Burrtec, which has been family owned since 1955, agreed to both subsidize Martha for her lost pay and help with the cost for her to get driving lessons and a driver’s permit, so that she could attend school.
“Our family and employees take pride in the communities we serve and support,” Burr said. “We are happy to help.”
“We are all called to help those who are in need. Our Eastern Valley has the greatest need, and the people who live there have tremendous potential if given a chance,” Burr said.
Sister Carol is grateful for the opportunity Burrtec is providing.
“This generosity on the part of Burrtec is a dream come true! We have a vision that someday Martha and some other of our better students can get more intensive English, learn to teach effectively, and eventually run the program themselves. Martha’s attending classes is the first step. Our gratitude to Ms. Burr and Burrtec defies adequate expression,” Sister Carol said.
Martha herself is excited and nervous, happy and thankful for the opportunity. She is most anxious to learn to speak English fluently.
“It is a compromiso [obligation or promise] to learn English. I try my best,” she said of the classes, which began in August.
“My life is much better [since I have begun to learn English]. I can learn the computer; I know what the TV is in English. I am more sure [of myself] in the hospital (where she takes her mother often for her heart condition), in the school, in teaching in Duro’s, in the stores.
Martha too is grateful to Burrtec for the chance to improve herself.
“It is my grand opportunity,” Martha said.” I hope to continue learning English, and in the future to help other people.”
To learn more about Providence in the Desert, visit www.GuerinOutreachMinistries.org or call 760-347-3937. Providence in the Desert is always in need of volunteers, monetary contributions or gifts in kind to continue to offer its free educational services to some of the poorest residents of California.
About the Sisters of Providence
The Sisters of Providence, a congregation of 214 women religious, with 300 Providence Associates, collaborate with others to create a more just and hope-filled world through prayer, education, service and advocacy. The Sisters of Providence have their motherhouse at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, located just northwest of downtown Terre Haute, Ind., which is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1840. Today, Sisters of Providence minister in 13 states, the District of Columbia and Asia, through works of love, mercy and justice. More information about the Sisters of Providence and their ministries can be found at SistersofProvidence.org.