Born in the desert of Mexico, Javier Rodriguez grew up far away from his parents and extended family, who had settled in the United States when he was a child. Choosing to stay and raise his own family in Mexico, Javier was fortunate to keep a very good job, which granted his family economic stability. Yet, Javier missed his parents and after more than 32 years of visiting them yearly, he finally decided to leave his security in Mexico and transport his family to Utah to be closer to them. He wanted his children to grow up near their whole family, to have “the opportunity to speak English very well and to live another lifestyle.”

Javier came to the country with a very limited knowledge of English, having never had to learn it for work. He wanted to improve his skills, make himself more marketable to business, and live more comfortably in his new country. Javier’s mother had been in a similar situation when she moved to the States years previous and recommended that Javier seek help at Project Read, taking advantage of their one-on-one tutoring services to better his reading and writing skills. Javier’s mother had tutored with Renata, who not only helped her to greatly improve her English, but also became a wonderful friend and trusted confidant. According to Javier, “she really loved Renata. She was not only our teacher, but our friend.” Because of this, he knew that Project Read was the place that would help empower him for the future.

Today, thanks to Project Read’s one-on-one tutoring, literacy labs, and various other tools, Javier’s English has improved significantly. Now, whether dealing with everyday necessities like reading a menu or those ever important job interviews, Javier feels like he can truly communicate better with people. Even at 76 years old, Javier stays active and has a great job at the Institute of Religion at UVU. Through hard work and constant support, Project Read has helped Javier see real results; the program has strengthened his family through multiple generations, truly building community. Anyone can succeed with the help of Project Read; you just have to be ready to start.