It is the simple things

BY Bill Reagan

No native speaker of English evens thinks about it. Every native Spanish speaker struggles with this when they learn English. Aracely was embarrassed by her struggle to master this difficult aspect of English pronunciation.

The children on her bus — she’s a driver for the Harlingen school district — even made fun of her. Aracely used to say “eschool” when she meant to say “school.” Native Spanish speakers pronounce the letter “e” before the letter “s” when the “s” is followed by a consonant at the beginning of the word.

Aracely is a very determined woman. She decided to learn how to pronounce “school” in proper English. So she went to the Harlingen Literacy Center for help. And she did not stop there. She worked hard. Studied. Learned how to pronounce “school” and a whole lot more. Now she has her high school diploma.

The United Way of Northern Cameron County held its Annual Kick Off Luncheon this past week. Many great speakers encouraged the crowd to promote the United Way and to give generously. The United Way recognized several outstanding community leaders for their contributions this past year. We clapped for them all. The crowd applauded Aracely.

Our region is blessed by truly generous leadership. The United Way Kick Off Luncheon was attended by the Who’s Who of the Harlingen and San Benito communities and by scores of regular people too. Everyone was there to give back and make our city and region a place where those in need get the help they need.

Some need a G.E.D. Others need to learn to read. Too many in our community, adults and children, need to escape domestic violence and abuse. Children need a safe place to play and learn. Hungry people need food. Homeless people need a roof over their heads.

Our community consistently rises to the challenges. The United Way supports many organizations that make a real difference in the lives of those in need. I give them some of my money. I hope you will too.

Bill Reagan is executive director of Loaves & Fishes of the Rio Grande Valley.