Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Class Closing

So, class ended today. We watched several students receive certificates of achievement, or completion as to their efforts to learn the English language. For a regular volunteer opportunity for me, this has been a chance to learn, to share, and of course, to teach. Here at our little community center, people have been learning to speak, read, and write English for decades.

So, I suppose today is notable. My time coming into this service was a blessing! I have helped here placing clothes on hangers. I have packaged food for the poor, and I remember fondly my chance to single handedly dole out an entire pallet of donated celery to the public, one case at a time! All these efforts have been fun. But, with the impact of nerve problems on my hands, even hanging clothes got to be for me time-consuming, inefficient, and frustrating.

Enter Kathy. Over eighteen months ago, I was chatting with this woman in our break room. Teaching ESL down the hall, she told me my help would definitely be appreciated. So, I said good by to the enormous bins of used clothing, the clip hangers, and the endless mess of decisions. I walked into the classroom, and found instant peace. I feel great gratitude for the invitation. Then, I learned more how to participate, to share, and to listen.

But today, the classes end. Not just here, but in many locations around the valley. These classes were financed by the discretionary funds from a cash-strapped school district. When the decisions were made, the discretionary funds got appropriated elsewhere, and now another set of useful services are lost to our community.

So, I should not have trouble finding another volunteer opportunity. One thing that increases in a poor economy is the pool of volunteer jobs. But, I like to think I will find something that brings me the same chance to grow and develop that I got here. Likewise, I wonder if I will find anyplace where I receive even a portion of the loveand appreciation I find here teaching English.

Today, we had a potluck, and we took pictures, shook hands, smiled and ate. After eating more than I wanted, one lady asked me if I tried the chicken mole'. She quickly brought me an extra plate of mole', pickled onions and carrots. My Spanish is limited, but I understood when she asked if I liked the mole'. Then she smiled, and asked if I am married. Maybe I underestimate how much I am appreciated here.

Thank you for reading.


I Love-Hate America by Bing said...

That's awesome....doing volunteer work is one sign of extending kindness esp. if you do it selflessly and from the heart. We are not limited to do good works for people who need us. There are always people who need us for whatever we can do for them.

Anonymous said...

Keith! If only I can be a volunteer there as well... I would love to do something similar to what you're doing. I have a colleague here in the university, she's an English teacher and from time to time she does tutorial to students and professionals who are planning to take TOEFL or IELSTS. A hundred percent of those she tutored passed! I have been thinking already of doing something similar during my free time, that is, if I still have a free time left, given my hectic work schedule. But, at any rate, I would often wish of doing some volunteer work like yours... Someday, someday...