Letter: The power of tutoring
Several families in Aspen decided to help a Hispanic couple that worked for them to buy a home. It was 2009, and the quiet transaction worked out well. After more than a decade living and working in our valley, the family could put down roots and feel like they had a secure and stable place in the community.
As first-time homeowners, they had signed all the legal documents. But like most immigrant workers, they didn’t understand real estate and property taxes. Years passed, property taxes went unpaid, legal notices weren’t comprehended, and so went unheeded. Eventually, yet suddenly, they lost the house.
By the time I (as a friend) realized the situation was unraveling, it was too late. The house had already been sold at auction. The family was uprooted and forced to re-enter the rental market.
As a new tutor for English in Action, I now understand how transformative one hour a week of tutoring can be for adult students and their families. The one-on-one tutor/student relationship goes much deeper than the practice of English. Over time, pairs get to know one another’s hopes and struggles. Bridges are built, friendships emerge, stigmas fall away.
I can’t help but wonder how things may have turned out differently if a member of this family had the services of an English in Action tutor. They would have been better able to read confounding legal notices. They would have had an advocate in their corner to explain the nuances and consequences of property taxes. They would have had a lifeline. Quite possibly, the family would still have a house and a home.
Being an English In Action tutor changes lives, often in unexpected ways. And all it takes is an hour a week. To learn more, go to EnglishInAction.org.
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