LWW linguist aids local residents
Did you ever wonder what it might be like to sit in a lunch room at work and not understand the rapid conversations going on around you, or miss your children’s stories about what happens at school each day?
When people move to a new country, as most of our ancestors did at one time, they are faced with both the excitement of a new beginning and the difficulties of learning a new language and culture.
For the last few years, Judi Kreinick has shared stories with me of the great work going on at the Literacy Council of Nevada County, where she and about 40 volunteers help non-native speaking clients – from countries including China, Japan, Mongolia, Russia, Argentina and Mexico – learn to speak English and acculturate to our society.
Judi moved to LWW in 1997 after a a 30-year business career. She busied herself with classes in geography, history, art history and various art media, but wanted to do more.
Three years ago, she volunteered with the literacy council and met Delfino, her first client, who worked in construction. He could not speak a sentence in English.
When I spoke with Delfino last week, I was impressed with his new language skills. “Everything is much easier now” at work, to talk to friends and to go shopping, he said. His work with Judi has been a rewarding cross-cultural experience for them and their families.
Judi then took Spanish classes at Sierra College and with Cathy Fagan of LWW, and has taken two month-long immersion trips to Mexico. She tutors Delfino and his wife, and also helps teach the council’s tutors and serves on the board of directors.
Leon Bauer, John Jessup, Mary Thelander and Fred Wilson also live in LWW and volunteer with the council. Mr. Jessup is the council president and says working with family members to meet their immediate needs in society is one of the most rewarding aspects of his work.
I will be teaching conversational English in rural China for a few weeks this summer. I don’t speak a word of Mandarin and can only imagine what it will be like when I face 30 Chinese students. They’ve studied English, but have never spoken to an American. My job is to get them speaking English. Heaven help us! So my hat goes off to the hard work of both the students and the tutors and the dedication of everyone at the literacy council.
Speaking of volunteers, it is time for LWW residents to think about nominations for Citizen of the Year. This annual search is for a resident who has generously contributed his or her time and talents to our LWW community and beyond. Nomination forms are available in the office or at http://www.lwwa.org. The deadline is Friday, June 22, with the recipient announced at the annual meeting July 28 in Commodore Park.
Got a tip about someone or something in Lake Wildwood? Contact Shirl Mendonca at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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