MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Hispanic Heritage Month celebration we are highlighting this morning the story of a woman from Venezuela who, like many other migrants, came to the U.S. pursuing a better future. Yohaha Carillo works at the Mobile County Public Schools, providing critical support to migrant students and their families, mostly from Latin America. Carrillo says her own life experiences is what’s truly helping her to support these family.

Read the full interview below or watch it in the video above.

Bill: Well as part of Hispanic Heritage Month celebration we are highlighting this morning the story of a woman from Venezuela who, like many other migrants, came to the U.S. pursuing a better future. Yohaha Carillo works at the Mobile County Public Schools, providing critical support to migrant students and their families, mostly from Latin America. Carrillo says her own life experiences is what’s truly helping her to support these family.
Welcome to our Red Couch this morning.

Yohaha Carillo, Mobile County Public Schools: Thank you so much for having me.

Bill: Thanks for being here. I know you teach English as a second language and you’re in charge of that department. Well, we were just talking during the break. There are more than 60 languages represented in Mobile County public schools there.

Yohaha Carillo: We have children from all over the world that we work in every school system. We range from families, from Asia, from Arabic families, Latino families, in families, even from the Pacific Islands.

Bill: And I assume Spanish is probably the predominant language there that most people are familiar with in the majority of folks Yes.

Yohaha Carillo: Yes, they are.

Bill: And your own story, I know you’re from Venezuela, but but helping migrant families here come to this country, maybe don’t speak English Learning some of that language is certainly a critical step to them, correct?

Yohaha Carillo: Yes, it is. Coming to a new country and facing all the challenges that come with learning the language itself, as well as adjusting to the culture. It can be very overwhelming for the families and for the students.

Bill: What are some of the obstacles they face in order to, first of all, learn a new language, but second of all, get by as they learn that language?

Yohaha Carillo: Yeah, it is definitely a challenging challenge for the students and their families. Our department have a wonderful staff that make sure that the children are not only welcome in our school system, but as well as helping them to transition and make the transition is smooth for them to adjust to the schools.

Bill: And I we were talking again, I was familiar with Davidson High School’s program and they have like some 25 or 26 different languages spoken there. But certainly a lot of students in how many schools throughout Mobile County teach ESL.

Yohaha Carillo: Well, Mobile County School has 92 schools all over the county. We pretty much provide services everywhere where we have an ESL student which is.

Bill: Which is everywhere.

Yohaha Carillo: Yes, yes.

Bill: It’s certainly amazing. And it is a, it is a great program. Now you are over that the whole program or involved in it?

Yohaha Carillo: And we have a coordinator that oversees our program. I am the parent program specialist. My job is to make sure that the families, when they come to Mobile, they transition and understand how important education is in this country. Something very different from the country most of the time, depending on where you come from. Sometimes education is not a priority, but it is here.
So we make sure that we promote education, that we help them to understand the law, the school laws, whether that they suspect from the families and what is expected from the students in our schools.

Bill: Yeah, it’s a very important position and we appreciate you being here and appreciate the job that you’re doing. Hannah Carillo. And you taught me something I have to say to you. Yohanna Carillo, is a roll my R’s.

Yohaha Carillo: Yes.

Bill: Thank you for being here.

Yohaha Carillo: Thank you so much.

Bill: And I appreciate it very much as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.