by Mark Lowe

Guest Blogger, ESLC’s Citizenship Outreach Specialist

Former Volunteer Specialist at the English Skills Learning Center

I had the wonderful opportunity of teaching English language classes at Woodrow Wilson Community Center under the direction of the English Skills Learning Center (ESLC) and in partnership with the United Way of Salt Lake.   This experience was extremely rewarding for a number of reasons.

The ESLC serves a diverse population of approximately 890 students per year from over 34 countries.  The class that I taught at Woodrow Wilson Community Center falls under the Empowering Parents program, which alone serves over 100 students in 11 schools. This program, in addition to teaching basic English skills, helps parents learn the English they need to help their children and to otherwise carry out their parental responsibilities.

Our class included students from Mexico, Brazil, France, and Nepal.  It was wonderful to be in a room with so much diversity.  The students came to class eager to learn and to accomplish their personal and parental goals.  For example, one student, Laura, hoped to work in a Day Care Center and to attend more school. Another student, Rosa, wanted to work at a front desk in a hospital.  Despite their different backgrounds and goals, the students showed cooperation, support, and friendship toward each other.

I am glad I had the chance to volunteer with the English Skills Learning Center and to be affiliated with The United Way of Salt Lake and with Woodrow Wilson Community Center.  This volunteer opportunity was so meaningful to me.  It gave me, and it gives hundreds of other students, the chance to give to, and to learn from, the local and world community.

Kate Rubalcava, the community learning center coordinator for Woodrow Wilson, poses with student Laura at the ESLC holiday party in December.