flag image

Literacy Volunteers seeks English tutors

Students and tutors of Literacy Volunteers of South Central Massachusetts take a break from an English class to pose for a picture. The organization is looking for volunteers to tutor non-English speakers. Rich Hosford. (click for larger version)
September 29, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — A local organization is calling on all English-speaking people who have the time and drive to help people trying to learn the language improve their lives.

Literacy Volunteers of South Central Massachusetts, located in the Jacob Edwards Library in Sturbridge, is looking for volunteers to teach English to adults who moved to the United States from foreign countries and need assistance learning the language. Volunteers can be anyone over the age of 18 with a high school diploma and an interest in helping people make it in the country.

Executive Director Nancy Santullo-Fors explained the organization is looking for volunteers to teach one-on-one tutoring sessions with non-English speakers. Each volunteer is given an 18-hour course to learn how to teach English as a second language and is provided with techniques and tools for educating students. Literacy Volunteers asks that tutors be willing to commit to at least two hours a week and to stay with the program for at least nine months. No experience with a foreign language is necessary.

Learning the language is essential for people trying to make their way in the United States, Fors said. With beginning speakers, the emphasis is on "survival English," ensuring students can perform basic tasks like purchasing food or explaining an emergency situation during a 911 call.

"These are things we all take for granted," Fors said. "But people who don't speak English need to learn how to communicate these things."

Once they get the basics and are able to begin real communication in the language, the sessions can take them as far as they are willing to go. Fors said some students have put in a tremendous effort and have been very successful. One student, who was a doctor in her home country of Peru, thought she would not be able to practice in the United States because of the language barrier. However, after working with a tutor for six years she was able to pass the exams to get all her certifications and begin seeing patients.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

Stonebridge Press
inclusion image
inclusion image
Thanks for visiting Stonebridge Press and Villager Newspapers