On Giving Tuesday, our friends at Cotopaxi joined us to support our regular evening ESL class: eight Cotopaxi volunteers worked with four devoted ESL volunteers to lead a class of 15 focused on digital literacy and ESL.
During the class, students practiced introductions and greetings in English and received technology training through the use of tablets incorporated into the lesson in coordination with our digital inclusion program. Students applied their new skills by using the tablets to take pictures around the office and practiced English by describing the photos using newly learned adjectives.
For Adele Davis, one of our devoted ESL tutors, the experience helped her see the importance of human connections in the learning process, “It was a positive experience for me as a teacher to see the students make an effort to communicate with these new volunteers. The refugee students were excited for the opportunity to practice their English in a new setting and with new people. Overall, it was a great experience to see the students so engaged and excited about their learning.”
To honor our dedicated volunteers for their continued service, Cotopaxi donated backpacks to each longtime ESL volunteers: Katy, Adele, Collin and Eric. Eric Goldman reflected on his time as an ESL volunteer at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Salt Lake City with some heartwarming remarks, stating that he is “lucky enough to have found joy and human connections through [his] work as a volunteer with people from other lands.”
Before the evening class ended, Eric stood to offer a few remarks he previously prepared:
“America has been built and continues to thrive on the sacrifice and determination of hardworking immigrants and refugees. Notwithstanding the difficult life refugees inevitably face upon adjusting to life in America,…newcomers from all over the world helped make, and continue to make, America great—not only in terms of its wealth, but they have also added so much to the culture of the nation: the mélange of different foods, different traditions, different ideas, different languages, different colors. We are, as it says on our five-cent coin – E Pluribus Unum – Out of Many, One. [We] learn from the values that refugees bring with them: their work ethic, love of family, generosity, faith, gratitude, strength, and perseverance.”
We appreciate the invaluable service our volunteers give—both long-term and one-time—it is imperative in the lives of the refugees we serve as they positively integrate to their new life in the U.S. ESL classes provide an opportunity for recently arrived refugees to learn and practice English as they navigate their new community and become self-sufficient.
Interested in becoming an ESL tutor? We would love your help! You can choose from a flexible, one-on-one in-home tutoring experience, or lead a small group weekly in class. Find more information here or email us at VolunteerSLC [at] rescue.org (subject: ESL%20Volunteer%20Inquiry) .
If you don’t have extra time to volunteer, consider donating textbooks or resources to the ESL class. Learn about our current ESL needs by emailing us at DonateSLC [at] rescue.org (subject: ESL%20Donation%20Inquiry) .