TYLER, TX (KLTV) - For more than 20 years, the Literacy Council of Tyler has been helping East Texans learn to read.
Maria Araujo said moving here from Mexico wasn't easy, especially when she didn't speak the language.
"I cried in high school a few times because I didn't know how to talk English I didn't know who to talk with because I didn't know anybody I just cried in school," said Maria Araujo, Literacy Council ESL student.
That's when Maria knew she had to do something to help herself.
"Not being able to communicate with anybody it's was like oh my god I have to learn this quick because you don't have anybody to be translating for you anything like that," said Araujo.
Maria says after her school days at John Tyler, she would attend ESL classes at Douglas Elementary, where instructors noticed her dramatic improvement.
After graduating from John Tyler in 2006, she went on to get an associate's degree and is now at UT Tyler.
"I went to UT Tyler because I wanted to get into the nursing program and I'm still in the nursing program right now and I should be graduating in December," said Araujo.
While she's finishing nursing school it's important to her to help others.
Maria is now a volunteer with the literacy council, she says having gone through the program she understands the struggles of her students.
"I know it's going to be a little hard because it was for me but I mean you can do it," said Araujo.
The Literacy Council of Tyler says they have had people from 45 different languages come through the program.
Their next classes will begin in August.