Sowing Seeds and Reaping Lasting Harvests for Our ESL Students
September 11, 2017
When we began teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) classes to serve a struggling, Spanish-speaking immigrant community years ago, we had no idea that our goal of breaking the cycle of poverty would lead to quite so many thriving endeavors and life-changing opportunities.
We at the Rosalie Rendu Center, along with our students and their families, have been blessed, generation after generation. Lives have been transformed and wonderful new educational and professional realities have been created for our Spanish-speaking community.
Scores of donors, brilliant, energetic volunteers, and a small but mighty staff have shared in the co-creation of our flourishing Center. Without them, we would not have such astonishing results for our students and their families — far beyond our original dreams.
Among their achievements, our ESL students are:
- Seeking college degrees
- Serving as translators in the school system, helping teachers and parents communicate to enhance student performance
- Advocating politically for the improvement of their children’s lives and the health of their communities
- Guiding their children through the rigorous process of applying to and being accepted at the finest private and public high schools and colleges, including Sacred Heart, Woodside Priory, Menlo, Stanford, UCLA, UC Santa Cruz and Berkeley.
Our ever-growing collaborations with stellar organizations have allowed us to provide diverse and stimulating educational activities, classes and programs that go beyond the traditional classroom model of teaching ESL.
The collaborations with Stanford, for example, have grown richer every year. Stanford students and professors are closely integrated into our volunteer program as reading and writing teachers, workshop mentors and Conversation Club members.
An undergraduate at Stanford, Wint Thazin, served as an intern this summer. She captured the spirit of the students at the center perfectly:
“As a beginning learner of Spanish myself, I was inspired by their drive to learn English for themselves, their children and their careers. One woman said, ‘I want a better job so I can help my family. English is the only way.’
These women were fighters and nurturers. They worked far more than they rested, but they still radiated.”
Meaningful and creative volunteer and funding opportunities abound at RRC. Volunteers with special interests and skills are always welcome, as are donors who want their investment specified for specific needs.
- Facebook grants have supported families attending the well-known San Mateo Maker Faire which provided a glimpse of futuristic technology and stimulated the imaginations of children and youth for potential opportunities in their own future
- Philanthropic Ventures Foundation, the Daughters of Charity and other donors have provided field trips, scholarships for soccer and baseball camps, and academic scholarships for private schools, enabling children and youth to get the best education available
We’ve been planting seeds and reaping a rich harvest of blessings here at the Rosalie Rendu Center for almost twenty years. The impact on the lives of the Spanish-speaking immigrant community we serve — and on our volunteers and donors — has far exceeded our hopes and expectations.