Here at Literacy Together we are honored to serve multiple generations of several families.
Often in adult education, we talk about the ‘ripple effect’ that one volunteer teaching one student creates. Usually, we mean that when parents increase their literacy and/or language skills, their children and grandchildren benefit as well. But sometimes that ripple goes in different directions, like in these ESOL ripple effect stories.
With immigrants, it’s often the younger generation who moves to a new place first and then can bring parents and other family members later. Here at Literacy Together, we are honored to serve multiple generations of several families.
In both cases, the mothers saw how kind and patient their daughters’ tutors were, and how much their daughters’ English was improving, and this gave them the confidence to sign up for classes themselves. Yoanna’s brother Fredy also has a Literacy Together tutor. And Yoanna is even considering becoming a tutor herself now, as a way of giving back!
Another example is Nathaly, who came here from El Salvador and after a few years was able to bring her parents over, rescuing them from a dangerous situation which brought tears to her eyes when she first told me about it. Nathaly passed the US Naturalization Exam and is now a proud citizen, and her parents are here and about to begin learning English and preparing for their naturalization exams with a Literacy Together tutor.
We have multiple husbands and wives and brothers and sisters who each have their own tutor as well. This ripple effect even works on the volunteers’ side too: we have had two instances of tutors team-teaching with their adolescent or teenage daughters who are hoping to become ESOL teachers. In one case, the daughter is now an adult teaching English in Korea, and in the other case, the daughter is a high school junior who plans to become TEFL-certified as soon as she graduates.
The English-speaking wife of one of our students came by to pick up some new books for her husband, as he has completed one level and is now moving into the other. This is what she said:
“I just want to thank you for all you do. My husband investing in himself with these classes is not only helping him; it’s helping the whole family. It’s not just the knowledge either; it’s the confidence. I can see a difference in the way he carries himself.”
The priceless gift that our volunteer instructors give their students is amazing enough by itself, but when you consider how that gift ripples out in all directions and affects people whom that volunteer never even sees, you can begin to understand the power of what we are doing together here.
Watch these videos to learn more about our ESOL ripple effect stories.