Imagine that you’ve just been transferred with your family to the United States. While you’ve heard English on television, the sounds are still jarring to you—certainly not familiar. Your spouse speaks English well enough for the job setting; your young children will be in school, picking up the new language quickly. Because your assignment is temporary, your motivation to learn a second language is limited. Yes, it would be helpful in shopping and making your way around a new city . . . but worth the effort to study strange new sounds?
Or picture this? You are new to the U.S. You and your family have lived in a refugee camp for the past eight years. You’ve heard some English, but no classes were available, and survival was more important than trying to learn a language. Now you have access to ESL – but for just a few months. And the pressure to learn so many new things is overwhelming. Access to classes is the biggest hurdle. And childcare is nonexistent.
Your family has lived in the US for years but it’s been easier to stick with your first language. Everything you wanted to do could be accomplished in your mother tongue. No one could have guessed the stress that would accompany family disruption. Now you have to enter the work force. And you find yourself challenged by limited English proficiency.
Good news! Churches across Texas have been planning for you. In some cases for more than forty years, instruction in ESL has been offered in local churches. For internationals and refugees and immigrants. More than 2,000 persons volunteer in church-based ESL ministries or programs each week through the school year. Most do not speak the language of their students. Since they collectively teach persons from 85 countries, this is not surprising. More classes are needed though. Many more.
Consider beginning an English as a second language ministry. We’d like to help you do just that. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s one more way volunteers are making a difference in communities in Texas. Join us!