ESL Tutoring Program continues to grow
Students volunteer two nights a week during the fall and spring semesters: Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
By Melina Casados '18
A few Elon students currently find their weeknights consisting of more than just homework and dinner. Through the English as a Second Language Tutoring program at Elon, students can add tutoring to their routines.
Twice a week, ESL Tutoring allows students to tutor during ESL night classes run by Alamance Community College at the Davis Street United Methodist Church in Burlington.
Though it is a young program within Elon Volunteers!, it has proven to make an impact on Alamance County community members.
ESL Tutoring began two and a half years ago when junior Courtney Weber began volunteering with ACC for one of her Human Service Studies classes. After spending time with the programs teachers and students, Weber was inspired to bring Elon to the ACC night classes. She wanted to offer Elon students the opportunity to become familiar with the connections and fulfilments she was experiencing every week.
“[Weber] liked it so much that she decided to set up a program at Elon,” said ESL instructor Jennifer Collins. “We were lucky enough to be chosen for a field test because it was such a success.”
The program is now run by two student coordinators, Emma Davidman and Megan Diggins, who encourage students to volunteer on a regular basis. Volunteers are not required to speak a second language to volunteer, and sometimes can do more than tutoring.
One of ESL Tutoring’s most distinguishable features is its status as the only ESL tutoring program through ACC that offers a free childcare service. This allows for ESL Tutoring volunteers such as former Leaders in Collaborative Service coordinator Briana Conecke to babysit children whose parents attend ESL classes.
“The kids range from 1 year to 13 years old,” Conecke said. “It’s amazing to see them grow. I’m so happy that EV! can provide a safe place for them to play and relax while their parents learn English.”
Through the program, students are given the opportunity to interact with community members of all ages outside of Elon’s campus. Elon student Selina Guevara ’19 says it’s the people she meets through ESL tutoring that keep her coming back to volunteer.
“I originally signed up because I was required to do service hours for a class,” Guevara said. “But now I love it so much and hope to continue it for next semester and beyond.”
The impact has been appreciated by Collins who is continually impressed with the energy that Elon volunteers bring to her classes.
“The students who come to volunteer with us have given more than they could ever realize,” Collins said. “Their involvement is appreciated by each person they work with and has reinforced what I have known all along; that every person matters and everything we choose to do or do not do can have a life-long impact on others.”
Though the program has experienced success, ESL tutoring is continually looking for ways to expand and strengthen. Potential program enhancements include improving the transportation for Elon volunteers and incorporating learning opportunities for children during the childcare service hours.
“This program has a significant impact on its surrounding community,” said former LINCS coordinator Caroline Dean. “It’s an amazing new program that has been added underneath the Kernodle Center. People should get involved, we would love to have them.”
Students volunteer two nights a week: Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. To get involved contact firstname.lastname@example.org.