Help Your Neighbors Learn English

Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) to adults eager to learn is a richly rewarding experience, local volunteer tutors are discovering. Additional tutors are needed to assist students in Barneveld, Darlington, Dodgeville, Mineral Point, Ridgeway and Spring Green. To become a tutor, register for the next free 10-hour tutor training class, which will be held 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 22 and Sept 29 at Plymouth Congregational UCC Church, 115 W. Merrimac, Dodgeville. The training is jointly sponsored by the Community Connections Free Clinic, Iowa County Literacy Council, Plymouth Congregational UCC Church of Dodgeville and Grassroots Citizens of Wisconsin.

Knowledge of a second language is not required to become a tutor as the training sessions will teach you to overcome the language barrier. Trainers include Therese Hess of Mineral Point, who directed a three-county adult literacy program in West Virginia for many years, and Kathy Warpinski, the retired Dodgeville High School Spanish teacher, who started her career as a volunteer teaching English to farm workers in a California church hall. Current tutors will also be on hand to share their experiences.

Upon successful completion of the training, tutors will be assigned to a student and will meet weekly one-on-one at a mutually agreed-upon time and location, often in the students’ homes. Fun bi-monthly potlucks that bring together the students, tutors and their families are one of the most popular aspects of this cross-cultural experience.

“Being a tutor has been a richly rewarding experience for me,” says Mary Michal of Barneveld. “I have made new and lasting friends and have had the joy of learning about and sharing in another’s rich culture. Being invited to birthdays and baptisms and sharing in wonderful meals have been part of the experience for me. It may be a cliche, but it’s true: Volunteering in this way is a win-win, and we receive at least as much as we give.”

To register for the ESL tutor training, or for more information, please contact grassroots@merr.com or call (608) 623-2109.

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