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Michael Slezak

Finding happiness
in a new home

There’s nothing more important to Leonor Torres than her family. The 40-year-old couple moved to the United States from Ecuador in 1982. She wanted to find a better way of life for her children.

When she moved to the U.S., Torres and her husband had to leave behind their son Geovanny and daughter Janneth. The children lived with Torres’ mother in Ecuador while their immigration papers were processed. ”It was very hard for me to leave my children,” Torres says.

In Ecuador, Torres sewed clothes for clothing designers. That helped her get into the garment industry when she arrived in New York City.

Torres had a hard time learning English. She worked long hours and didn’t have much time for classes. Then, a few years ago, she joined a union for garment workers. Torres took English classes through the union. Finally, Torres received her high school diploma.

Today, after 15 years in the U.S., Torres says leaving Ecuador was the best decision she ever made. Both of Torres’ children will attend college in the autumn. ”I want to be a good example and teach my kids to fight hard for the things they want,” she says. Torres is now a sample maker with a clothing manufacturer. She loves her job. She even gives suggestions to the designers about how the clothing should look.

And what about her future?
‘Someday, I’d like to go to college. Maybe I’ll be an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher. I’d like to be able to help other parents who want a better way of life for their children.”


couple: pareja
to leave behind: dejar en casa
sewed: cosía
garment industry: industria de la confección
union: sindicato
she ever made: que pudo tomar

attend college: ingresar a la universidad
to fight hard: luchar intensamente
sample maker: creadora de muestras
designers: diseñadores
maybe: quizás
a better way of life: una mejor forma de vida