Thursday, December 8, 2011


Every Thursday evening I volunteer my time helping adults learn English. It's going on four years now that I've been going. Classes are held at a local college near where I live. Students come with a wide range of speaking abilities. Some have no knowledge of the language while others just need some improvement in grammar or their confidence. Some students are not even literate in their own language. Some students stay for a long time while others come and go quickly. It's always great to see them move on and go on into higher education or get a job they've been wanting after improving their skills. It really is bittersweet though because it's so sad when they are no longer in class. They become just like family.

Our students come from all over the world. Even though they come from different cultures they are similar in that they are here to improve their lives and that of their families. Some find friends in class. It's always great to see how happy they are when they've met someone that also speaks their language. Some teach others a few words in their language. If only the world could get along as well as our mixed group of students! It's always great too when people bring in food that is native to their country. You can't imagine the wonderful smells, textures, and rainbow of color!

 When I was in high school I spent a summer in Venezuela living with a family. It was the absolute best experience of my life. When I got back I started seeking out the exchange students at my school. After knowing what it's like to be someplace where you don't speak the language well or know anyone I wanted to help out if I could.  Some of them became lifelong friends.  I decided after college I wanted to teach English in South America somewhere but I took a different turn in life and went to travel school instead of college. So this is as close to my dream as it gets. I'm not anywhere near South America but I am teaching English. I have met some of the most amazing people in class. They have such stories to tell, good and bad. They are such special people.

This is something that I enjoy and a way I can give back. There are so many different ways we can volunteer. I know some people like to be around animals so they volunteer at an animal shelter. A friend of mine helps by packing boxes to send to troops overseas. Maybe you enjoy being around elderly people or kids and could help at a nursing home or hospital. Some people help by delivering meals. I'm sure there is something out there you are good at and someone that would be grateful for your help!

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