by Linda Turkington

Collective Impact Associate

Have you ever tried to explain to someone the differences of how to use could, should, and would in a sentence?  Now imagine if you are learning English and someone tries to explain the differences to you. It can be super challenging! The English language is full of situations where what you see and how you expect a word to sound or be spelled can be different. Even as a college graduate, my English leaves much to be desired.

I volunteer at a great organization here in Salt Lake with a program called “Conversation Club.” My whole job is to talk with people who are learning English and give them the chance to practice English. Volunteering through Conversation Club gives me a whole new perspective while at the same time, allows me to help someone else. I regularly meet people from all parts of the world; Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Germany and many more. And listening to their life stories is like reading the best book. What is even more motivating to me is that the people come to the United States with such a strong desire to learn English. When I ask most of the people why they came to Conversation Club, their answers are truly touching. Most of the woman in the group are parents, and their first answer is usually, “I want to help my children succeed in school. I want to read to my children. I want to help them with their homework and I can’t if I don’t understand their homework.” The people who come are hard workers. They work all day long, and then they come to Conversation Club and practice their English as well as attend other programs that help them with their reading and writing.

This volunteer opportunity has been very rewarding for me!  And since it is National Volunteer Month, I encourage everyone to call 2-1-1 or visit UWSL’s website and find your own volunteer opportunity that you feel passionate about.

If you are interesting in volunteering with Conversation Club:

Inglés Para Latinos