ESL Classes at Worker Resource Center

A special thank you to communications volunteer Monica MacMillan for contributing the following blog post.

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Full House

According to a recent survey conducted by media organization Red Brown and Blue, “98.1% of undocumented Latino immigrants want to learn how to speak and write English.”  Yet, only a mere 11.2% feel that they can speak and write it “well or very well.”  Despite this strong demand, “cities across the country are experiencing severe shortages of English [as a second language] teachers, leaving long lines of would-be English speakers waiting outside their doors,” according to Businessweek.com.  It is with this backdrop that Samaritan House is thrilled to welcome Sergio Lua as its newest volunteer English teacher at the Worker Resource Center.

Sergio Lua, ESL Teacher

Lua began teaching English at the Worker Resource Center a little over a month ago.  Classes are free, and the curriculum is determined largely by the students.  “I have them tell me what they want to learn,” says Lua.  In addition to basic greetings and grammar, participants often ask to learn vocabulary relating to their occupations, such as tools used in landscaping, carpentry, and painting.  Frequently, they practice pronunciation of the phrase “I am looking for a job.”

An immigrant himself, Lua came to the United States from Mexico in 2003 with very little knowledge of English.  Through adult education classes, he learned English very quickly, and started taking other classes.  He currently attends Notre Dame de Namur University and is working towards a B.A. in psychology.  He volunteers his time at the Worker Resource Center because he wants to give back to his community.

“I want to make them feel comfortable,” Lua says, referring to his students.  “It’s not a school, you can participate or not,” so long as you remain respectful.  Lua is also experimenting constantly to see what works best.  He is currently considering creating a curriculum and posting a calendar outside the classroom so that his students know in advance what he will be teaching from week to week.

In a focus group study conducted by the Migration Policy Institute, immigrants were insistent that learning English was “critical for their success.”  “Fully 85% [said] it is hard to get a good job or do well in this country without learning English.”  Reyna Sandoval, the Interim Volunteer Coordinator at Samaritan House, agrees: “I know that workers have been passed up by potential employers because they don’t speak English.”  Equally as important as finding employment, English-speaking immigrants are frequently more “well-versed in their rights and the laws protecting them,” notes Businessweek.com.

If you are interested in volunteering as an English teacher at the Worker Resource Center, please contact Reyna Sandoval, Interim Volunteer Coordinator at (650)523-0819 for more information.

Sergio teaching

Volunteer Recognition Event 2013 – Neighbor Helping Neighbor

Every year, we honor volunteers who have shown exemplary effort in support of Samaritan House’s programs at our annual Volunteer Recognition Event. This year, the Sammy Award winners were treated to a special gift from Ruby Kaho, Kitchen Manager for Samaritan House. Before the event, Ruby created handmade Hawaiian leis for each Sammy recipient. The leis were then handed out at the event by a local Boy Scout troop.

Sammy Awards in 18 program categories honored volunteers who have shown exemplary effort in support of Samaritan House’s programs and services:

• Administration – Louise Delafield

• Bread Basket – Trader Joe’s team

• Client Services – Mary Lynn Ruiz

• Dining Room – Chris O’Leary

• Finance/Development – City Auction Crew

• Food Pantry – Ana Maria Jackson & Paula Corona (Kelly Award)

• Holiday Program – Saia (George) Bourke

• Kids’ Closet – Susan Campo

Every year at our volunteer event, we present our highest honor, the Kelly Award, to an individual who has shown exemplary volunteer service to our agency. This year, the award was given to 2 volunteers – sisters Ana Maria Jackson and Paula Corona.

AnnamariaandPaula

Ana Maria and Paula have been volunteering with us for over 10 years, and can be seen 3 days a week handing out groceries to families in our Pantry. We recently interviewed the 2 about their experience (http://bit.ly/SH_Pantry).

Congratulations to our 2013 Sammy Award winners, and thank you for all you do!

Local kids get creative and give back

Melissa
Rory & Tessa with Volunteer Manager Melissa Moss

Learning that a $100 donation allows us to provide nutritious meals for 35 children, Rory (age 10) & Tessa (age 7) decided to hold a garage sale to raise money to benefit Samaritan House. The kids succeeded in reaching their $100 goal, and came by our office earlier this month to drop off their very thoughtful and generous donation. (Pictured with volunteer manager Melissa Moss)

We thank these very young Samaritans for this wonderful project and celebrate their community-minded spirit!

Franklin-socks-blog

Another example of students giving generously to Samaritan House: Students of Franklin Elementary in Burlingame recently donated an amazing 1,917 pairs of socks for Kids’ Closet, our free clothing center for children.

According to the students, highlights of their sock drive included a “Sock Hop” dance – where the price of admission was a pair of socks – and a “Sock-o-Meter” to help them measure progress towards their donation goal.

The kids also artfully decorated the collection boxes to look like little washing machines to keep with the theme.

If you are a school or organization looking to conduct a donation drive or fundraiser for Samaritan House, contact Volunteer Manager Melissa Moss for details: mmoss@samaritanhousesanmateo.org.