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Mojgan's story on chasing her dream

Mojgan is 38 years old. She was born and raised in Iran. She has a master’s degree in laboratory sciences from Iran. Mojgan met her husband, an Iranian-American, and then she moved to the US. She has been in America for 4 months now. Language was the first barrier she had to face when she came to the US. One of her friends who had been taking English classes with CMAA introduced her to the opportunity to join in ESL classes provided by CMAA.

When Mojgan came to the CMAA for classes to learn English as a Second Language, she met with one of our teachers, Curtis Bell in our Elgin office. In Curtis’s classes, he always tries to create cross-cultural activities with the aim at helping his students to be able to learn and engage with each other in a truly meaningful way. One of the weekly activities in the ABE (Adult Basic Education) class she joined is called "Music Mondays". It helped Mojgan share her dreams and show her talent in music. She sang a song called “Little Heart, Crazy Heart” in her native language. After she sang, she explained about the lyricist, singer, and music composer whose song she performed. It was so exciting for her to sing for students from 4 different countries. She used to sing in Iran in friendly gatherings. Her friends told her that she has a good voice. Unfortunately, in her country, women are not allowed to sing and dance. In other words, female singers are not allowed to perform in Iran, so she had to give up her dream of becoming a singer.

“Music Mondays” had also brought back memories with her dad who passed away 2 years ago. She used to sing with him and he played a traditional instrument called a Santoor which is an Iranian version of a hammered dulcimer. Her father always encouraged her to follow her dreams. This prompted her to pursue her dream. After that class, she decided to take a vocal class to develop her skills in the field.

CMAA always tries its best to help adults obtain the skills necessary to become successful in entering employment or postsecondary education, to become self-sufficient citizens, and to achieve their individual ambitions through services. That includes free English as a Second Language classes (ESL), civics, citizenship, healthcare bridge, and computer literacy classes as well as individual ESL tutoring.

The testimony below is written by Mojgan Vahed, and edited by Curtis.

"My name is Mojgan. It has been four months since I came to America from Iran.

Fortunately, I heard about the ABE class through a friend. I remember that in the first session, each of us talked about the music of our countries, and I volunteered to sing an Iranian song.

I love dancing and singing. Unfortunately, in my country, women are not allowed to dance and sing. It was very interesting and exciting for me to sing in the classroom for the first time.

I am grateful for our energetic and kind teacher who allowed me to sing in class. After I sang, I explained about the poet, singer, and music composer whose song I performed. My classmates and my teacher encouraged me and gave me more motivation to move toward one of my dreams, which is singing.

Thank you to Udon and Curtis for helping me and others like me to learn English and American culture by creating great classes. "

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