Armida Stokes was born in California to Mexican immigrant parents. She eventually settled in Arkansas, where she found that her ability to speak both English and Spanish fluently allowed her to help many in her community wanting to learn English.
Armida was working full time as a translator for a local sales organization when one of her co-workers told her about the Ozark Foothills Literacy Project in Batesville. She became an AmeriCorps member at the Literacy Project, tutoring on evenings and weekends when she was not working at her other job. To keep up a schedule like this, you have to be fueled by passion for helping others. Armida undoubtedly is.
Armida is more than just a tutor for her students. She is a one-woman welcoming committee for new immigrants, she is a mentor and a cheerleader. Students who speak limited English struggle with day-to-day activities, such as talking to doctors or employers. Armida uses these challenges as inspiration for her lessons, teaching students how to fill out job applications, open email accounts, and other essential tasks. Once, when she discovered a student had been eating only rice and beans for weeks, she taught the student how to ask for help at a local food pantry. She has taken students on field trips to health clinics, to lawyer’s offices, and even to the ATM.
Armida’s encouragement gives students the confidence they need to write or speak English in new, challenging situations. Our community is a better place because of Armida and her dedication to helping others.