At just 14 years old, a girl from Maryland is impacting the lives of dozens of students in Latin America.
Stephanie Juárez is no ordinary girl. She is in eighth grade in the mornings and serves as an English teacher for Latin American children in the afternoons.
She said her parents’ immigration story inspired her to change the lives of others through a program she created herself.
“I thought teaching them could help them in the future, especially with work so that they don’t have to immigrate to another country but can stay in their country and have a better life there,” said Stephanie.
She announced her project on social media, and it quickly gained popularity. Her students live in several Latin American countries and say they are grateful for the classes.
“It helps my parents a lot financially because they don’t have to pay anything. In other schools, they would have to pay a lot of money to enroll me in English classes,” said Aimar Cisneros, a student in Mexico.
“These lessons helped me learn new things… I’m grateful to Stephanie because she helped me learn English,” said Josué Palma, a student from El Salvador.
What her students don’t know is that Stephanie, like them, is facing financial difficulties. The young teacher yearns to own a pair of dress shoes for going to church, which her parents currently cannot afford.
“It’s difficult for us because we have four children and there are other priorities like paying the rent. So, as a mother, it breaks my heart because I want to give them everything, which I didn’t have,” said Angélica Sánchez, Stephanie’s mother.
Quietly, she embarks on a new project: making piñatas to buy the shoes of her dreams.
“I am the eldest in the family, my brothers and sisters, and I see that my parents need to work. I see they don’t have enough money and I would like to help out in some way and buy shoes to go to church,” Stephanie said.
Currently, 38 children in Mexico, Central America and South America are part of its program.
The young teenager does not intend to stop and urges others to establish similar programs.