Helping Hands: The Permian Basin Adult Literacy Center

Published: Jan. 20, 2020 at 4:50 PM CST
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English language classes at the Permian Basin Adult Literacy Center are unlocking new opportunities and tearing down communication barriers.

"It's a wonderful place here," Janeth Aguilar said with a smile.

She is a current PBALC student, studying most nights after her family is fast asleep.

"In the night, I'm studying for two or one hours per day," Aguilar explained. "It's difficult, but I can do it!"

Reading a bedtime story to her children in English is one of the many things Janeth can now do. On top of that, she just earned her U.S. Citizenship, passing the required English language exam and civics test.

"I feel happy, I'm tired, but I feel so happy," Aguilar explained.

Aguilar credits much of her success to a year's worth of Permian Basin Adult Literacy Center small group classes and particularly the volunteer teachers.

"All of our instructors and tutors are volunteers," Executive Director Alba Austin stated. "Without our volunteers we would not be able to fulfill our mission. Period."

Austin is passionate about the PBALC's mission, which is to develop literacy skills of adults so they can achieve their goals, improve their lives, and impact their community.

Austin recounted so many success stories, recalling one in particular that moved her. "She has told us, this has opened up a whole new world for me — that just makes your heart, it gets me emotional," Austin said.

It's easy to get emotional when you see the wide and lasting impact the small classes have had on countless West Texans.

And for mothers like Janeth, who are continuing their English literacy education, the full depths of the impact have yet to be felt.

"I need other job, better — and the future better for my family and me," Aguilar said."

the current Permian Basin Adult Literacy Center Spring classes run through April. Students pay a $25 enrollment fee, if they can.

The PBALC is located in Midland on West Wall Street, with satellite class locations at Odessa Bible Church and Howard College.

Volunteers typically commit to teaching an hour class per week, with the PBALC providing all the training needed for its teachers.

If you're interested in volunteering with the Permian Basin Adult Literacy Center, visit their website

or give them a call: (432) 682-9693.