Natalia from South America – Bolivia, The We love Reading translation volunteer specifically, the one who helped in translate our online training to Spanish tells Dr. Rana Dajani how the experience of volunteering with the We Love Reading Program was like a light to realize and adhere her dreams besides using her abilities and provide help the community..
“My name is Natalia Gómez, I was born in the United States but I’m currently living in Bolivia. I am seventeen years old and something I really like to do is learn new languages. I feel that that is my way of getting to know the different countries around the world without necessarily having to be there physically. I currently speak Spanish, English, and French, studying German and Russian and one of my goals is to one day be able to speak Arabic, Chinese, sign language, and braille language as well. I am also very good at chemistry and math, which makes me really happy because my grandmother, who I never got to know because she died of cancer before I was born, was a chemist. So, I feel that when I study chemistry as a career in college, she will be very proud of me and that is what keeps me going because, to be honest, chemistry can be very difficult sometimes.
Around December of last year, my dad told me that you were looking for someone to translate the We Love Reading program but I didn’t pay much attention at first. However, as time went by, I did some research on who you are, what you do and honestly, I was shocked. As I read your biography I just thought to myself “I hope one day I can be someone like her and accomplish at least half of the things she did.” So, I decided to volunteer for two main reasons; one because I knew that the gift the world gave me of speaking many languages would finally be useful to the world. Using my talents for something good is absolutely one of the best feelings, and two because it really feels like a privilege doing something for you.
The We Love Reading program is such a special project, made with so much love and I am so glad I got the chance to know what it is about. One of the most important things in life is learning to like studying because studying is the one thing that we should never stop doing. So, if we don’t like to study and we do it because we feel obligated, it becomes boring, tedious and therefore, we start to hate it. So, unlike the original think of school, the purpose of the program is to make children like to read and to awaken their curiosity, not just force them to because “it is good to read”. This is a teaching strategy that the world needs more, even though it is not a very easy one because it requires more creativity and extra work than just forcing children to do things. I am sure that your program will get very far and I hope that one day, all schools use this method to teach. Nowadays, schools tell us how grades are the most important thing in life and that we are only intelligent when we get good grades. Because of that reason, I am going through a period of demotivation right now; I have not been getting very good grades at school despite putting so much effort into it and that makes me feel kind of useless. Hopefully, these organizations like yours will teach children that grades are not everything and that a number will never define a person and that is what I like the most about the program. I love how you focus on the actual learning of children and not on a number or how good they can do on a test. Chemistry is my favorite subject at school yet it is also my lowest grade this semester but that is okay. It is okay to fail sometimes, it is okay to not be excellent all the time. Life is not a diagonal line, it has its ups and downs. So, my main message to the world right now, (even though sometimes it is hard to even for me to believe it) is that life comes with a million tough moments that will break you, but in those moments you only have to remember that the more you break, the more spaces you create for light to penetrate.
My dream is to one day be able to combine all of my strengths and main talents which are chemistry, speaking different languages , and computer programming, and make the world a better place. For example, one of my biggest goals in life is to become a professional chemist, own a cosmetics company, and stop animal testing. Also, I would love to become a female leader like you someday and have the courage you had to make your change in the world.
You have no idea of how much I admire you. I’m so grateful for this amazing opportunity the world gave me to be able to talk to you. Now I have one more person to look up to. If you ever need my help with everything, please let me know, I will be more than enchanted to do it”