Desire to learn English is there, but help needed
This is in response to Dana Andersen’s letter regarding many service people’s lack of fluent English. I can certainly understand the point made and the frustration felt. However, the lack of fluency is NOT a result of lack of desire to learn the language.
Literacy Outreach is a grassroots organization that teaches reading and writing skills in English to adults. Many of the students are English as a Second Language learners. Literacy Outreach works with adults who want to learn English but cannot attend formal classes due to long commutes to work, lack of transportation or lack of childcare. These students are clamoring to learn the language and are willing to put in time at night even after a long day at work to do so.
There is far more demand than Literacy Outreach can accommodate. Currently almost 40 students are on the waiting list who want to learn to read, write and speak English. While Literacy Outreach has served some 130 students this year, they simply do not have the capacity to keep up with the demand. The organization is totally funded by grants and community donations and relies on professionally trained volunteer tutors to teach the students. Those tutors also act as cultural ambassadors educating the students, not only in the language, but showing them how things work here, e.g., how to get a driver”s license or register a motor vehicle, so that the students can better integrate into the community.
We as individuals and a community can help in educating those who are not native English speakers by donating time and/or money to organizations such as Literacy Outreach and helping them to provide the much needed and desired education. We can lend a hand in this process and thus eliminate some of our frustration while assisting in improving someone’s life. (More information is available at 945-5282.) The desire to learn is there. Let’s help make it a reality.
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