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Unsung Hero: Layma Sammar

Layma Sammar

ESL Tutor, Translator, Family Literacy Support

Peninsula Regional Education Program

Region 21

Layma Sammar came to the Peninsula Regional Education Program (PREP) in February 2021 as a translator to help the Afghan community. Initially, she agreed to come every Tuesday and Thursday, when PREP’s Catholic Charities partner sent their students to PREP’s building to meet their tutor. Layma was immediately able to work one-on-one with the beginning ESL learners who needed the most support. An Afghan American who received her degree in Spanish literature while in Kabul, Layma worked in fall 2021 as a translator with the United States Marines in Stafford, Virginia and has since served as a Dari translator with Commonwealth Catholic Charities. Layma leverages her own experiences as an Afghan woman who became a U.S. citizen along with her translation skills and great customer service skills to support English language learners.

Layma has been willing to do anything PREP leadership has asked of her. When PREP began to plan a family literacy grant, Layma was eager to go through the training so that she could help support the ESL adults who would take part. When the program lost its coordinator to a full-time job, Layma stepped up to lead the family literacy grant and move forward with recruitment. “We have had our challenges with getting the family lit program off the ground, but Layma has not given up,” says PREP manager Rachel Ambrose. “Layma has been with PREP for a short amount of time and has had a huge impact on our program and our students.”

Layma currently teaches ESOL basic levels and leads the Peninsula Regional Education Program’s family literacy program.