By Joshua Nardi, Positive Impact Miami
It began in ignorance. After time, labor and providence, it became more than just an ESL program. I should describe our methodology or the materials, but those are secondary.
Our magic wand interviews revealed the community residents’ desires to learn English and to gain citizenship. Some church members spoke English and some had taken the arduous test for citizenship; all avenues pointed to an opportunity for an ABCD approach to an identified community need.
So, in an effort to build pathways into the community, Positive Impact Miami leaders designed the English as a Second Language and Civics Program. The program was implemented in two churches as a pilot program. It was no surprise that the program taught the students; but we could never have engineered the glorious and effervescent friendships that is growing out of the program.
After several weeks, the tutors and students were cooking traditional meals together and translating the whole process from Spanish to English. Students also invited the tutors to visit their workplaces, like sandwich shops or musical performances. Every night of class somebody brings refreshments. Each person, both tutor and student has different talents and weaknesses. Some tutors barely speak Spanish, others barely speak English.
It is obvious that we are all on the same journey together. It is called an ESL class, but it feels like a party.