Luis Yoris loves his job. Hopping on and off the tractor to feed the cows and tend to the calves is all in a day's work at the Oak View Dairy Farm in Busti. His journey to southwestern New York from his native Venezuela was one that began five years ago. After meeting his soon-to-be wife on an internet chat line, Luis moved to the area two and a half years later.
"I wanted a future for my family and a better life for my son," said Luis. "I knew there were more opportunities here in the U.S. as long as I was willing to work hard."
But first Luis had to learn the language. That's where the Joint Neighborhood Project's Live & Learn English Program stepped in and helped out. After six months, Luis was able to speak, read, and understand enough English to land a job and change his life.
Luis Yoris is hard at work at the Oak View Dairy Farm in Busti.
"If it weren't for the Live & Learn Program, there's no way I would have found this job. And without this job, there's no way I could continue to live in this great country and provide more opportunities for my son," said Luis.
Luis' dream is to someday buy his own land and raise beef cows. He said owning his own business would have taken much longer in Venezuela, but here it's on the fast track toward reality.
"I can touch my dream. Owning my own business is something I never thought possible. But even after a few short months of working in this country, I can already see my dreams starting to come true," said Luis. "When I think of the future my son can have here, I'm excited. Anything is possible if you're willing to work hard and never give up."
Name: Patricia Eckwahl
I'm an allocations
volunteer because ...
"I get to be part of a process that uses people from all different backgrounds to make sure your donation goes to the program where it's needed most."
Joint Neighborhood Project is very committed to helping people who speak Spanish as their first language reach for their dreams. Through the Live & Learn English Program, 91 adults living in the Jamestown area have been able to gain the speaking and reading skills they need to find jobs.
"Our goal for all of our clients is to help them create a better tomorrow for themselves and their families," said Barb Hungerford, executive director at Joint Neighborhood. "The Live & Learn Program provides the foundation of stronger English skills that people need to be successful in our community. We're also looking to support employers by focusing on the skills that will prepare our graduates for family-sustaining wage jobs."
The Joint Neighborhood Project's Live & Learn English Program is one of 44 programs supported by the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County. When you give to the United Way Campaign, you help people just like Luis Yoris not only find a job - but touch a dream.