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At just 14, a girl from Maryland is impacting the lives of dozens of students in Latin America.
Stephanie Juárez is no ordinary girl. She's an eighth grader in the morning and serves as an English teacher for children in Latin American in the afternoon.
She said her parents' immigration story inspired her to change the lives of others through a program she created by herself.
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“I thought teaching them could help them in the future, especially with work so they don't have to immigrate to another country but can stay in their countries and have a better life there, too,” Stephanie said.
She advertised her project on social media, and it quickly grew in popularity. Her students live in several Latin American countries and say they're grateful for the classes.
“It helps my parents a lot financially because they don't have to pay anything. At other schools, they would have to pay a lot of money to enroll me in English classes,” said Aimar Cisneros, a student in Mexico.
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“These classes have helped me learn new things … I'm grateful to Stephanie because she helping 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 hardship. The young teacher yearns to own a pair of formal shoes to go to church — something her parents cannot currently afford.
“It's difficult for us because we have four children and there are other priorities such as paying the rent. So, as a mother, it breaks my heart because I do want to give them everything, what I didn't have,” said Angélica Sánchez, Stephanie's mother.
Quietly, she started a new project: making piñatas to buy her dream shoes.
“I am the oldest in the family, of my siblings, and I see that my parents need to work. I see they don't have enough money and I would like to help in some way and to buy shoes to go to church,” Stephanie said.
Currently, 38 children in Mexico, Central America and South America are part of her program.
The young teen does not plan on stopping and urges others to establish similar programs.