ESL Opportunity for Hopewell

There’s a saying that often floats around our organization: “See a need, meet a need.” It communicates the idea that a person who observes a need should not assume someone else will take care of it.  Rather that person should do what they can, within their capacity, to meet that need if they know it is not otherwise being met.

During this particular lesson, Marco helped students know what to expect out of a dentist visit: the process of filling out forms, x-rays, exams, and some of the terminology they would need to know, like cavity. 

We have had the opportunity to practice this teaching in the midst of the neighborhood in which we live.  Observing various needs and finding ways to help our direct neighbors has been a priority for our community service efforts.  

Recently, we began teaching an adult second language acquisition course to assist the Hispanic immigrant population in our neighborhood with their English-speaking skills.

Because the class, taking place in three trimesters, consists of adults between 29-35 who are trying to live and work in an English-speaking culture, the class caters towards language learning within the context of every day life and work. It teaches them how to better navigate the English language within their jobs based on the experiences they have accumulated in the process. Marco Arroyo teaches the class, and is assisted by several volunteers who help by dialoguing with the students through work-related scenarios. 

In addition to the educational experience, the participants get to take the class at our facility within their own neighborhood with those whom they share similar experiences.

Students get an opportunity to practice both written and spoken English, helping them engage relationally on their day-to-day, and know what's expected of official paperwork. 

In another lesson, Marco helped the class with their reading comprehension, learning the cultural terms for certain relationships like girlfriend, fiancee, or wife. 

In order to best meet the need that exists, Marco took his cues from the students themselves, and what they told him they needed. While all of them have grown in their understanding of English, they've also been able to meet specific personal goals they had for themselves, like opening a bank account, how to talk with an insurance agent, reading the newspaper, and passing a GED test. Giving our neighbors an opportunity to learn what they need to better integrate into life in our world is a great privilege and joy. We've been so happy to celebrate their successes with them! 

“I enjoy the class because all the participants are eager to participate and ready to share about their experiences,” said instructor Marco Arroyo.  “They want to learn because it is so relevant to their lives.”

Marco’s motivation is based on his experience immigrating to the US from Mexico at the age of 15. Now, Marco is a husband and father to three, the maintenance lead at G.O.D. International, and an instrumental part of our third world development efforts in Latin America. Reflecting back on his first few years in the U.S. he says, “I wish I would have had someone who was concerned with teaching me English, specifically that related to my needs at the time.” While Marco was able to learn English on his own, his experience could have been made easier by someone who simply saw his need and met it. Thankfully for our neighbors, Marco did that.