When Georgina Reyes immigrated to the U.S. from El Salvador in 2011 with her three children, her oldest son was eager to earn his GED. Georgina cheered him on with excitement, and, years later, decided she would follow his lead. Determined to prove that “education is for adults, too,” she enrolled in free GED prep classes at Truman College.

It had been more than 20 years since Georgina was in the classroom—and as an immigrant and mother, she didn’t expect the transition to be easy. With that in mind, she gave herself a year to complete her goal of earning her GED. At the same time, she knew improving her English would help advance her career, so she also enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at Truman.

While Georgina had set clear goals, she struggled with her confidence. She wasn’t sure she could manage both classes, but her fellow classmates and instructor, Jose Maria Fernández Mesa, encouraged her to keep going. Fernández Mesa also introduced her to City Colleges’ Career Bridge Program, which would allow her to earn a certificate in Early Childhood Education tuition-free. With his encouragement, Georgina decided to give it a try, later calling the program “a gift.”

“I know how expensive college can be, but I was able to learn so much for free. [The Early Childhood Education Bridge Program] gave me the tools and the support I needed to earn my certificate,” she said. “This is going to form my future.”

Georgina ended up earning her GED in just four months—well ahead of her planned schedule—and completed her certificate in Early Childhood Education shortly after. Now, with improved English, a GED, and a basic certificate under her belt, Georgina looks forward to growing her career in education—and showing her kids that they’re never too old to learn.

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